Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kenya: combatting radical Islam

The protest in Nairobi on 15 January by a handful of Muslim youth, in which four people were killed, revealed a profound radicalisation and inter-faith resentment among Nairobi’s Muslims. Kenya must address this if it is going to avoid Nigeria-style violence in the future. It should work closely with the United States, which apart from being an important player in Somalia is involved in interconnected regional initiatives. The protests shook the foundations of tolerance in Kenya as nothing has before. It prompted some civilians to cheer the police, which is generally reviled for its many crimes against the people. Vigilantes even joined the battle on their side. But on the other hand it led to an armed protester – believed to have smuggled a gun into the protest – shooting at a policeman. The authorities have denied reports of the officer’s death, but have confirmed the sacking of a Muslim officer who defied orders to charge into the protesters.

Kenya must take its Somali immigration situation seriously. And John Oyando has some possible solutions.