Kenya destroys 83-year-old mosque in Kisumu
NAIROBI, Kenya - The government of Kenya through the Kenya Railways cooperation on Saturday destroyed an 83-year-old Mosque in Kisumu, a city located in the Western part of the country, in what has elicited anger and condemnation from the larger Muslim community in the country.
Kenya Railways dispatched machinery on Saturday at 3 am, which reduced the oldest worshipping site in just under one hour, leaving behind just debris which only evokes bad memories of the unique mosque, one of the biggest in the city.
Masjid Kibos Mosque is one of the largest centers of worship by the Muslim community which was started around 83 years ago. The Kenya Railways has been accused of nuzzling the freedom of worship which is enshrined in the country's constitution.
Aden Duale, the Garissa Town MP who also served for eight years as the Majority Leader, accused the government of Kenya of violating the freedoms of worship, adding that the act was a demonstration of impunity perpetrated by the current regime.
"The demolition of Jamia Mosque, Kibos, Kisumu county is immoral, anti-Islam and uncalled for. This Masjid was build in 1938 and was demolished at 3 am by Kenya Railways. Under any circumstance, it is unconstitutional, an affront to the freedom of worship and abuse to the Muslim umma," he wrote on Twitter.
"It's forbidden to demolish houses of worship. I condemn Kenya Railways who acted against an existing court order to demolish the Mosque & residential houses leaving many innocent Kenyans homeless. Even in heinous regimes, none in the history has ever demolished the house of worship," added Duale.
The third-term MP said the incident was an embarrassment to the Muslim countries community which is the second-largest religion in the country. He said Islam forbids the demolition of places used for worship.
"We shall protect all houses of worship including those of other faiths. Islam does not allow the destruction of places of worship," said Duale. “And who is more unjust than those who prevent the name of Allah from being mentioned in His mosques and strive toward their destruction.
The destruction of the mosque was also condemned by other leaders, who called for an apology from the government. Abdikadir Aden, a member of Parliament for the East Africa community from Kenya, said that those involved in the destruction should be arrested.
"I condemn the demolition of 1938 built Kibos Mosque in Kisumu. Destruction of the many homes of poor Kenyans in total disregard of a court order is also a crime. Those involved in the operation are criminals and must be brought to book," he noted.
"The demolition of Jamia mosque Kisumu county is anti-Islam and uncalled and forbidden to demolish places of worship. I condemn this barbaric act. Kenya railway should face the wrath of the law," added Ahmed Abdi, a resident of Kisumu.
The mosque, Kenya said, was built on government land which belongs to the Kenya Railways. The Railways cooperation is intending to use it for the construction of the Kenya-Uganda railway which is projected to boost the economy of western Kenya.
Freedom of worship is inherent in the constitution of Kenya, a country that has at least 80 percent Christians. The remaining 20 percent is usually Muslim and Hindu, who are also part of the important community of Kenya.