Seek higher education, Muslim leaders tell the youth
By Standard Team
A Muslim cleric has urged parents and leaders to encourage the youth to seek higher education and avoid being lured to al-Shabaab.
In his Eid Ul-Fitr message, Kenya Muslim National Advisory Council (Kemnac) national chairman Sheikh Juma Ngao appealed to parents and the Government to step up the war against drug abuse to save the youth. Safina Juma (left) and her sister Amina Juma sing and dance outside Kakamega Jamia Mosque.
Safina Juma (left) and her sister Amina Juma sing and dance outside Kakamega Jamia Mosque.
"Many universities have opened their doors to everyone but few Muslim youth are advancing their education. This is a matter of concern as we embrace county governments and vision 2030," Ngao said on Wednesday.
He asked the Government to dedicate scholarships to youths at the Coast to raise standards of education since many families are too poor to fund university education for their children.
"Government scholarships targeting children from poor families have dried up. We are afraid the region will fail to produce adequate qualified personnel to run counties," he said.
The cleric urged wealthy families from the region to support higher education by offering scholarships to needy children.
The chairman of Supreme Council of Kenya (Supkem), Prof Abdulgafur El-Busaidy asked the Government to facilitate the return of ten Kenyans held in Ugandan jails on terror claims.
Speaking at Ziwani grounds in Mombasa, he described the arrest and confinement of the suspects a gross violation of human rights.
"The repatriation of Kenyans to Uganda was wrong. The biggest question is why is the Government silent?" he asked.
Busaidy said Muslims would be happy if the suspects face trial in Kenya.
"Kenyans need answers on the suspects. We need to know their fate since their families are suffering," he said.
Kenya National Human Rights Commission commissioner Hassan Omar said the arrest and confinement of the suspects contravene the basic tenets of natural justice.
He appealed to President Kibaki to ensure the suspects are brought back to the country.
Meanwhile, Eid celebrations across the country continued in top gear as Muslims attended prayers in various mosques and designated open grounds.
Muslims in Nairobi thronged Sir Ali grounds in Pangani and various mosques in Kibera, South B and Eastleigh for prayers.
Most male faithful wore robes (kanzu) and hats and women were dressed in buibuis and lessos as they joined others in celebrations.
Speaking in Nairobi, Supkem National Organising Secretary Sheikh Shariff Hussein expressed concern that some Muslims broke the fast on Tuesday instead of Wednesday.
Hussein said it has always been the question of who informs the Chief Kadhi and Supkem on the sighting of the crescent moon. The Supkem official said the institution would soon call for a meeting between Muslim leaders and organisations to solve the problem of moon sighting.
The chairman of National Muslim Leaders Forum (Namlef) Sheikh Abdillahi Abdi, however, said the issue is not divisive.
The leaders called on Muslims to respect the Chief Kadhi and wait for his announcement on when to begin and end Ramadhan and mark Eid Ul-Fitr.Dr Ahmed Yassin, a commissioner with the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, speaking in Mombasa, said Muslims were coming up with a taskforce to ensure they stop wrangles experienced during the beginning and end of Ramadhan.
"We hope after the taskforce presents its findings, we shall come together and stop the differences among Muslims," he said.
In Kerugoya, Muslim leaders expressed disappointment over failure by authorities to allocate them a plot to build a mosque. The clerics said they have been allowed to use a small mosque located in prison yet they have funds to build a new one.
"We are using the small mosque meant for the Kerugoya GK Prison staff and inmates. We have requested the Municipal Council to allocate us a plot on which to construct a Mosque but all has been in vain," said area Imam Sheikh Mohamed Ngao.
Ngao noted the mosque in prison was too small since the number of faithful has risen.
Many Muslims in the area slaughtered goats as they marked Eid.
But there was drama at Majengo Mosque in Nyeri as residents scrambled for food donated by Special Programmes Minister and Nyeri Town MP Esther Murugi.
The mosque’s officials had a hard time managing a huge crowd that was scrambling for the food donations. Many residents arrived at the Mosque early in the morning and vowed not to leave until they had received a share of the food.
Majengo Mosque chairman Uledi Majjid said the food would be shared equally between residents regardless of their religion.
Similarly, in Mombasa, Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (Kifwa) national chairman Hezron Awiti Bolo donated ten goats, rice and cooking oil to various mosques in Nyali Constituency.
"I have decided to support the celebrations by giving whatever little I have to our Muslims brothers and sisters," Bolo said.
He handed foodstuffs worth Sh500,000 to imams in the company of the leader of Coast Inter-faith Council of Clerics Alfred Obuya.
-Reporting by Patrick Beja, Ngumbao Kithi, Athman Amran, Munene Kamau and Wambui Ndung’u.
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