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The comical side of the Al-Faisal show

STUDIES
By | January 25th 2010

In an interesting twist, to borrow a clichÈ much beloved by broadcast journalists, Kenyan Muslim leaders have now washed their hands off controversial Jamaican preacher, Sheikh al-Faisal.

Indeed, after the violent clash outside the Jamia Mosque, the leaders made it clear they had nothing to do with the hoodlums who engaged police in a vicious stone throwing match or the infamous Sheikh in who whose honour the battle was waged.

It is equally safe to assume that no one directed, funded and armed the wooly-headed non-Muslim youth who took it upon themselves to offer stone throwing support to overwhelmed anti-riot police.

Angry Kenyans

This incidence offers lessons, comical but gut-wrenching, for the powers that be. To begin with, the Muslim youth were not fighting for al-Faisal. They don’t know him and they don’t give a hoot. The reality is that there are far too many angry Kenyan youths spoiling for a fight. They are Muslim, Christian, atheists, Mungiki — in fact they represent religions of all shades.

They also happen to be jobless, poor and idle. They are rebels without a cause, jumping into a melee whose purpose they have not the foggiest idea. For them, the thrill of danger is an orgasmic release of pent up rage and what a senior journalist described as an "exaggerated sense of grievance."

But the youthful rioters began with stones. Then they graduated to machetes and last week, they allegedly had two pistols. In 2012, they will have a machinegun hitched up on a "technical" — Somalia style.

The second lesson concerns the police. First, they need to issue a restraining order against government spokesman Dr Alfred Mutua before he gets himself or his bodyguards killed by wading into riots.

Food for thought

Alfie? You only stop a full-scale riot when you are Nelson Mandela or you are armed with a teargas canister. Riots are brutal, bloody and real, brother.

And still on Police, Commissioner Mathew Iteere needs to get back on the drawing board. His boys clearly lost that battle and it’s very scary when the full force of the law is repulsed by boys armed with stones. If that performance is an indicator of how cops will deal with the 2012 mayhem, everyone had better get on the fastest bus to Timbuktu.

CRY OF THE POORP

But why was that officer who was shot hauled by his colleagues onto a police truck like a sack of potatoes? Isn’t First Aid part of combat school? Doesn’t an officer who goes down deserve a stretcher, ambulance and a doctor on sight? That is unless the much-taunted medical units within the Police Service are just a PR exercise.

The most important lesson, however, rests with Muslims. Brothers, don’t dissuade yourselves that you are marginalised. In this country, marginalisation is based on illiteracy and poverty, not tribe, religion or gender.

Is there anyone who knows a rich, educated Muslim who is marginalised? Anyone?

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