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We will act if Kadhis’ Courts go, say irked Muslim leaders

BUSINESS
By | May 26th 2010

By Vincent Bartoo, Karanja Njoroge and Ali Abdi

A section of Muslims has threatened to demand the scrapping of Christian Religious Education (CRE) in schools if Kadhis’ courts are removed from the Constitution.

Eldoret Jamia Mosque Administrator Jibril Kimutai further outlined areas where Christians "have discriminated against Muslims".

They warned that the ruling on Kadhis’ Courts could open a Pandora’s box as it has wide reaching implications in the relationship between Christians and Muslims.

"Institutions like the armed forces have Christian chaplains, yet we have not complained," said Kimutai.

They said teaching of CRE in schools also "gives Christians undue advantage over other religions, yet Muslims and others pay taxe used to pay the CRE teachers".

Nakuru Muslim preacher Maalim Isa Mbogo termed as flawed the argument that taxpayers’ money should not be used to run the courts.

Presidential decree

"Most Muslim children were made to learn CRE following a presidential decree," the preacher said.

Kimutai added: "We don’t ask Government for money to finance IRE, but pay teachers through mosques."

Mbogo said the ruling paved way for the secession of the 10-mile Coastal strip where the Kadhis courts are supposed to apply.

In Isiolo, Marsabit and Moyale, Muslim leaders said the ruling on the courts jeopardised Kadhis’ courts position in the Constitution.

National Muslim Leaders Forum (Namlef) upper Eastern Co-ordinator Hussein Guleid said the decision was suspect, given the case was filed in 2004. They said the ruling should have come before the 2005 referendum.

"Kenyans should ignore the ruling... it will not affect the road to a new constitution," said Guleid.

He claimed the judges could have been influenced by "the draft constitution calls for an overhaul of the Judiciary", adding "No" proponents could have had a hand in the ruling.

He said not having Kadhis’ courts in the Constitution would spell crisis for the country, as Muslims would not accept such a scenario, adding that its inclusion was not a favour but a right.

The Co-ordinator of Waso Trustland project in Isiolo Hassan Shano called for sobriety, saying any decision not to have the Kadhis’ courts in the Constitution would antagonise Muslims in areas such as Coast, North Eastern and upper Eastern.

In an earlier interview with the Press before the Monday ruling, Saku MP Hussein Sasura, who is also an Assistant Minister for Development of Northern Kenya, said inclusion of the Kadhis’ courts was an agreement between Muslims in the Coastal Strip through the Sultan of Zanzibar and the British colonial Government.

"It is due to that colonial period agreement that we have the Kadhis’ courts in the current Constitution.

It is not there because one religion is favoured. The Kadhis’ courts will be retained ultimately whether one likes it or not," Sasura said.

Separately, Gichugu MP Martha Karua said the proper interpretation of the ruling was that it only applied to the current constitution and should, therefore, not affect the ongoing process of making new laws.

Speaking at her Gichugu constituency office in Kianyaga market yesterday, Karua cautioned politicians against making the wrong interpretations to derail the ongoing process, which is at its final stage.

She, however, wondered why the matter had taken six years to conclude, only to resurface now.

Karua said she read mischief.

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