* That’s right folks: Because Islam has is a Religion of Peace, one that orders its adherents to:
Quran 8:59: “The infidels should not think that they can get away from us. Prepare against them whatever arms and weaponry you can muster so that you may terrorize them. They are your enemy and Allah’s enemy.”
Unlike Kenya, both Uganda and Tanzania have passed their anti-terrorism bills, attracting major funding from the international donor community. Uganda’s Suppression of Terrorism Act of 2002 and Tanzania’s Anti-Terrorism Law of 2003 empower the state to use all necessary means to investigate terrorist activities and confiscate property belonging to people found to be supporting terrorism.
Yet in Kenya, Muslim leaders dismissed their version of the law as a “draconian” document drafted in the United States with the intention of “oppressing” the Muslim community.
“It is a bill that uses shock and awe tactics on its citizens while purporting to fight terrorism,” said Billow Kerrow, a Muslim Kenyan opposition politician (The Nation, December 7, 2003). “In my view,” he said, “our government has gone out of its way to harass its citizens…by arresting, detaining, beating and violating their rights, under pressure from Washington.” The government has vehemently denied the allegations, reiterating that its actions in combating terrorism are not targeting any particular group. “No. We are not targeting Muslims or any other community. We have never done so and will not in the future,” said Lawrence Mwadime, a deputy policy commissioner (The Standard, October 2).
On September 21, Kenyan Muslim leaders urged the Kenyan government to cut off diplomatic ties with the United States until it explained why President George W. Bush discussed Kenya’s political stability with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete. The Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) also demanded that Tanzanian authorities give a detailed account on the meeting at which their leader allegedly discussed Kenya’s affairs, contrary to the tenets of the East African Community (The Nation, September 23). In July 2000, the United States agreed to help Tanzania strengthen its capacity to act against financial crimes and terrorism. Since then, FBI agents have been training Tanzanian police in criminal investigation techniques.
Tensions have been high between the Muslim community and the Kenyan government.
Muslims on the coast, the northeast and in Nairobi complain that they have been persecuted on the flimsy excuse of being terrorist suspects. The government-funded Anti-Terror Police Unit has been allegedly fleecing businesses belonging to ethnic Somalis and Arabs on the claim that they finance terrorists (Reuters, May 24). The unit was set up in 2003 to probe Kenya’s Islamic militants, including the recovery of missiles and the forging of links to friendly foreign security services. Its operations, however, have been adversely hampered by the lack of a central government in chaotic Somalia, since security officials fear that extremist groups still take refuge in the volatile Horn of Africa country.
Islamic groups have held demonstrations in the country’s two biggest cities, Nairobi and Mombasa, denouncing the U.S., British and Israeli governments for their actions toward Islam. Most recently, demonstrators in the coastal city of Mombasa burned the flags of the United States and Israel amid chants of jihad in protest of the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. In Mombasa, roughly 60 percent of the population is Muslim.