Thousands of people have today converged at the KICC in Nairobi for the first annual Muslim conference dubbed ‘Journey of faith – Africa’.
The Journey of Faith – Africa conference is an extension of Journey of Faith (JoF) conferences held annually in Toronto, Canada.
JoF has been successfully held annually in Canada and was founded and Chaired by Sheikh Said Rageh.
The event was graced by several renowned International Muslim scholars from UK, US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Local Ulamaa and several Muslim politicians among them Majority leader Hon. Aden Duale, Mandera County’s Senator Billow Kerrow and Kamakunji MP Hon. Yussuf Hassan.
Topics of discussion ranged from how Muslims may live as a minority in harmony, tolerance and peace especially in Kenya and the life and times of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).
The clerics took issue with those posing as Sheikhs with the intent of luring the youth to violence saying that they are corrupting the core message of Islam. They called on the youth not to fall on the trap of radicalization.
The clerics further said that Islam and Prophet Muhammad have been greatly misunderstood in the whole World and talked at length on the life and times of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
“Many in the world have misunderstood and abused the message of Prophet Muhammad. That is why we call on all local teachers to refresh the people’s understanding of the lifestyle and teachings of the Prophet,” said Sheikh Ahmed Hameed.
“We are emotional beings, and someone who insults the Prophet is seen as someone who has insulted your mother. But we should practice restraint and avoid knee-jerk reactions. We should respond in a way that reflects and demonstrates the good nature of the Prophet,” added Imam Hameed.
London based Muslim scholar and Imam Wasim Kempson said Prophet Muhammad is “the most misunderstood individual” in modern times but this is not a reason to respond with violence and say “off with the heads” of those who insult the Prophet.
Majority Leader Aden Duale and Mandera Senator Hon. Billow Kerrow were categorical that radical teaching by some scholars that disparage other faiths and sow hatred and violence do not have a place in the true teachings of our faith – Islam.
Hon. Kerrow expressed the need to encourage peaceful co-existence and respect for all faiths in the country.
The conference which was attended by both Muslims and Non – Muslims comes at a time when the country is grappling with terror attacks and accusation of high handedness in the Government’s response. Most Muslims feel there are blanket condemnations and the conference will go a long way in helping diffuse any misunderstanding of Islam and Muslims.
Security was beefed up at the venue with those attending made to undergo tight security checks. Armed Police and GSU personnel kept vigil throughout the event.
The two day event will come to an end tomorrow (Sunday 27th April)