The top Muslim leadership in the country on Sunday condemned the massacre of innocent civilians at Nairobi’s Westgate Mall at the weekend. They described as “heinous” the attack by the gunmen, who seized the shopping mall on Saturday.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the attacks on peace-loving Kenyans and our international guests who have chosen to live and work in Kenya,” said the statement of the clergy read by Supkem secretary general Adan Wachu.
The leaders were addressing the press at Jamia Mosque in Nairobi.
“We send our deep condolences to the families of the bereaved and those wounded in the on-going siege at the Westgate mall,” he added.
Mombasa’s Senator Hassan Omar urged Kenyans to remain united in the face of the grief and reject any attempts to divide the country along religious lines. Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (Supkem) national vice-chairman Alhaji Abdullahi Kiptanui distanced Islam from the attacks as he called on Kenyans to remain calm and united.
Mr Kiptanui said Al-Shabaab, who have since claimed to be responsible for the attack, were a terrorist organisation and should not involve Islam.
“Terrorism is the work of the devil. It cannot come from God. We condemn the attack in the strongest terms possible and convey our condolences on behalf of all Muslims to those who lost their friends and families.”
Mr Kiptanui praised the police and the Kenya Defence Forces for evacuating hundreds of victims.
“I call on all leaders, including those in the opposition, to come together and find the way forward.
“As religious leaders, we are going to come up with plans for a national prayer rally involving all religious groups,” he said.
Mr Kiptanui was speaking to journalists in Kericho County. Hundreds of people were held hostage by the criminals by the Kenyan security forces have managed to free some while many more were still in the terrorists’ hands by press time. The terrorists have killed 59 0f the hostages.
The Supkem leader said the terror group could be receiving aid from some governments, which enabled it to acquire weapons such as grenades and AK-47 rifles used in the attack.