Yesterday, after the usual Friday prayers, Muslims left Jamia mosque which is located right at the heart of Nairobi city and took to the streets to demonstrate over the detention of a Jamaican Muslim cleric who is currently held by government authorities over crimes of allegedly spreading messages of hate against non-Muslims and is said to be connected to the infamous terror group Al-Qaeda. The man who government officials say entered Kenya through the Kenya-Tanzania border is also believed to have charges awaiting him back home in Jamaica. Muslims in Kenya were not pleased with the idea of his detention and without a warning a demonstration cum riot emerged. It turned out to be one bloody affair, no really, I mean Nairobi’s central business district was turned into a small war zone. Two people lost their lives. The violence had escalated and bloomed into a Muslims Vs Christians war when other civilians joined the police in fighting the rioting Muslims, the cause for the demonstration was then quickly forgotten, or perhaps another cause was acquired and an Al Shabab flag was spotted among the protestors.
His name is Abdullah Al-Faizul, that Jamaican Sheikh. It’s such a noble thing the Muslims did though, I think, if at all they were right in doing what they did. I think it as a great gesture of love and solidarity to a fellow human being, again, if at all the Jamaican is innocent and indeed his rights were violated, since the ‘innocent’ man they were ‘fighting’ for was not even ‘one of their own’, he is from another land! And what they were concerned with was for justice to prevail and the religion of the man was not that much of an issue. But violence like that witnessed in Nairobi yesterday is not acceptable to me and I believe to most Kenyans regardless of religion. Therefore, those barbaric acts of violence are condemnable by at least my standards. I’m not conversant with much of the teachings of Islam but I am certain that Islam does not condone such acts, if I’m not wrong. If the above is true, then Muslims being such ardent advocates of justice will distant themselves from the crimes that were committed and denounce the riots as this was not their initial plan, they will do all this to redeem the religion of Islam and show the whole world that all they truly want is justice for all human beings and not only Muslims. That will teach all of us the greatest teaching of all- to love one another without prejudice.
Then again, perhaps the Muslims saw the Jamaican as one of their own- a Muslim. Let’s say religion won over patriotism. At that moment other Kenyans cease to be brothers and sisters. The Jamaican Muslim becomes the brother. Naturally as human beings, when your brother is in trouble in foreign territory you will always take his side whether he is wrong or right. Even if you can admit he was wrong, you would prefer to beg to take him home and punish him yourself the way you see fit, but you will not abandon him, because he is your brother. Sometimes, if the situation calls for it, the people who hold your brother captive become the enemy at that moment until you save your brother and go punish him yourself or otherwise. If at all the Muslim saw Faizul as a brother, then the government of Kenya which represents the people of Kenya, the same one that is holding their brother becomes the enemy. For civilians to help the police, that makes civilians enemies. If this second hypothesis is true, then the Muslims may still be right as human beings to naturally want their brother free but lose points on being justice seekers, assuming Faizul has not broken any law here in Kenya or abroad. For if he is wanted for any offence it is only right for Muslims to let the law take its course, whether or not he is one of them- a Muslim. If they do not let the law work, they damage the name of Islam as a just religion for they are not a special people, at least not here in Kenya.
Shifting from the question of whether or not the Muslims were right in what they did, what scared me during and after the riots was the profiling and hatred that is slowly brewing up. It is so frightening to see how we could live together as one people without noticing any differences in us only for the subtlest of differences as religion to suddenly be magnified to humongous magnitudes as to cause violence amongst ourselves! That scares me.
3 days ago