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Daily Nation : February 21st 2014
2 DN coverstory DAILY NATION Friday February 21, 2014 The radical wave giving some Muslim clergy sleepless nights Salafists have rolled out a massive countrywide indoctrination programme that is supported by petrodollars from abroad. Several prominent mosques are now under their administration, and this is what is fanning hostility among a people who have operated on a platform of tolerance and mutual understanding for decades. The sect’s biggest boon was the popularisation of its teachings by Saudi tycoon Osama bin Laden, whose immense wealth helped set up and finance Al-Qaeda operations around the world. In Somalia, war bred an offshoot of AlQaeda called Al-Shabaab, and it was this grouping’s flag that fluttered atop Masjid Musa in Mombasa when police staged a daring operation two weeks ago BY HAJI KARIUKI email@example.com S omething is brewing in Mombasa. Something ominous. And ill. The master brewers are, to use the new phrase that just got in vogue, “radicalising youth” into jihadists. Mosques, hitherto respected and upstanding houses of worship, are the new recruitment centres. Everyone knows it is happening. Everyone, including the leaders of the mosques, the communities around them, and the government and its many agencies. And so, when the police raided Masjid Musa in Mombasa two weeks ago and arrested more than 100 people who were, they said, studying the honour of joining the jihad movement, the nation was shocked by what that raid unearthed. Extremist material littered the place, stored in booklets and computers. And, atop one of the minarets of the mosque — which has become the poster child of religious extremism and the focus of undivided police attention of late — an Al-Shabaab flag fluttered in the Indian Ocean breeze, presaging ill fortune in its total, dreary blackness. The following day, a section of Muslim leaders came out to condemn the raid, arguing that it desecrated a place of worship and that the police had not business setting foot inside Masjid Musa. GROUP EDITORIAL DIRECTOR: Joseph Odindo GROUP MANAGING EDITOR: Mutuma Mathiu FEATURES EDITOR: Bernard Mwinzi REVISE EDITOR: Mary Wasike SUB-EDITOR: Naliaka Wafula PHOTO EDITOR: Joan Pereruan CHIEF GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Roger Mogusu DESIGNERS: Nzisa Mulli, Andrew Anini, Dennis Makori, Alice Othieno, Michael Mosota, Ken Kusimba, Hassan Ibrahim, Benjamin Situma, Joy Abisagi, Virginia Borura, Teddy Murimi, Linus Ombette REPORTER: Joy Wanja COVER & GRAPHIC CONCEPT: Hassnas Makorm Den in Ibrahii But what many do not know is that Masjid Musa, and indeed many other mosques around the country, has fallen into the hands of a brand of Islam that is causing jitters within the Muslim community. Known as Wahhabism, this breakaway sect is slowly recruiting a following around the country, and among its membership, we found out, are prominent religious scholars and, of course, the passive and unassuming hoi polloi. That is how Wahhabism has managed to entrench itself in the country with little objection to its radical teachings and Quranic interpretations. 40,000 Amount of money, in shillings, a young recruit we talked to told us he was promised in advance if he joined the Shabaab ranks, and a similar sum monthly during training in Somalia. Wahhabism — also known as Salafism — has its roots in Saudi Arabia, and its main doctrine is to convert the kafirs (non-believers) into Islam through divine guidance based on the Holy Quran and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad. The sect, therefore, calls for the return to ‘true Islam’ through khilafah, or caliphate leadership, and the best way to entrench such is by converting adherents to practise its doctrines and dogmas. Controversy is already reigning among Kenyan Muslims, especially the Sunnis, over whether Salafists’ condemnation of their traditional teachings are really as objectionable — or bid’a — as preached by the new men in town. That includes whether or not to celebrate the birth of Prophet Muhammad, to supplicate to the departed (khitma) and to supplicate through congregations (dua). All these, according to the new doctrine, are misadvised. But the biggest threat to nations is the lavish financing Salafist leaders enjoy around the world to help, among others, sweep away moderate interpretations of Islam and advocate, through trainings, the fusion of state power and religion through the establishment of a caliphate. In Kenya, the sect has rolled out a massive countrywide indoctrination programme that is supported by petrodollars from abroad. Several prominent mosques are now under the administration of Wahhabis, and this is what is fanning hostility among a people who have operated on a platform of tolerance and mutual understanding for decades. “We don’t hide our teachings in these mosques because having different opinions on religious issues is common and acceptable since we don’t differ is published every week by Nation Media Group Limited. It is distributed free with every Daily Nation. Unsolicited manuscripts, artwork, transparencies are submitted at the sender’s risk. While every care will be taken on receipt of such material, the Nation Media Group Limited cannot accept responsibility for accidental loss or damage. ©Nation Media Group Limited, 2009. All rights reserved. LABAN WALLOGA A man caught in the middle of the chaos in Mombasa two weeks ago between the police and radical youth is led to safety. Facing page: Masjid Musa, the mosque where authorities believe a lot of extremist religious indoctrination happens. There are fears that Salafist forces are slowly taking over major mosques in the country from the moderate Sunnis, who are seen as not living according to the dictates of ‘true Islam’.
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