Muslim spiritual leaders in the country have been told to be on the alert and protect mosques and other Islamic institutions against extremists and their misguided

ideologies. Addressing Muslim gathering at the Kakamega Muslim Secondary school grounds in Kakamega county, the national chairman Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK), Sheikh Abdalla Ateka acknowledged that violent extremism was a major concern for Muslims as it threatened the unity of the community and also undermined religious peaceful co-existence in the country. He said it was abhorring that Muslims today are being seen as intolerant, advocates of acts of violence stressing that these social evils were inconsistence with Islamic values. At the same time Ateka called on Muslim leaders to speak out against extremism and defend the true faith of Islam saying the religion does not condone use of force and shedding of innocent blood and appealed to Muslims to remain calm and guard their tongues against making reckless statements.

Ateka said that it is crucial for community leaders and residential Imams to put in place measures to immunize this problem and prevent rogue Muslim preachers from using mosques and madrassas to propagate extremist ideologies citing close scrutiny of their sermon contexts before it is inculcated in the congregations as one way of combating extremism. He hinted that the CIPK leadership in partnership with other Muslim organizations in the country was looking at ways to minimize radicalization through extremist religious teachings by setting up retraining programmes for Imams, preachers and Madrassas teachers to curb the trend. Ateka noted that Islam is a religion of peace and it encourages tolerance and dialogue among its adherents for mutual understanding and peaceful co-existence for prosperity, adding that it was imperative Muslims adheres to teachings inscribed in the Holy Qur’an for guidance.

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