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Step up the fight against terrorism, Duale tells Imams

Defense CS Aden Duale (second-left) with  Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Kenya Dr. Nassir Alfureidi and Muslim leaders at Jamia Mosque in Nairobi. [Denis Kibuchi, Standard]

Defense Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale has called on Imams and other Muslim leaders to spearhead the fight against terrorism and insecurity.

Duale said Imams are better placed to promote coexistence among communities, religious groups and political groupings.

“Imams play an important role in shaping society. They are the right people to preach peace, tolerance and co-existence. Islam has a special place in our society, including workplaces,” said Duale.

The CS spoke during the opening of a two-day training for Imams at Jamia Mosque in Nairobi. The event was organised by the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) in partnership with the World Muslim League of Saudi Arabia.

"Islam has been profiled and linked to acts of terrorism. The time has come for Muslim leaders to protect the gains already made by helping the county to fight terrorism," said Duale.

These gains, according to Duale, include Muslims' access to insurance and Islamic banking products as per the teachings of Islam.

"We need to preach tolerance and peace among all communities and religions. Let us support the government in maintaining law and order. Nothing moves when there is insecurity. We will not be able to grow our economy or pray. Our children will not also be able to go to school,” said Duale.

"Our Constitution provides that we all have freedom of worship. Kenya is one of the countries where we are allowed, by the Constitution, to conduct important Islamic activities such as marriage, inheritance and divorce according to the teachings of Islam.

He dismissed claims by some Muslim leaders that their religion is being targeted in extra judicial killings linked to terrorism. “Muslims must be at the forefront in the conversation of ensuring security in our country and other parts of the world. This way, we will ensure a few people don’t use our religion for their own individual and ideological gains,” he said.

“Our president has addressed the issue of extrajudicial killings. No one is allowed to take the life of another person, no matter what religion they belong to. Help us build a harmonious Kenya where Muslims, Christians and all other people, from all other faiths, can live side by side because you have access to the people, especially the Muslims.”

Duale’s appeal to the Imams came a day after the US government promised a Sh1.2 billion (USD10 million) reward to anyone who will help it capture the three most wanted Al Shabaab leaders.

“It is you (Imams) that our children listen to when you are teaching them madrassa," he said. "While at it, cultivate the culture of religious tolerance, brotherhood and coexistence between Muslims and people of other faiths.”