By Mbarak Abucheri
The council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) has called on Muslim leaders to take lead in uniting Kenyans and fostering peace and integration of the nation.
This call was made by the newly elected national chairman Sheikh Abdalla Ateka who emphasized on the responsibility of Muslim leaders to preach peace and tolerance and shun acts that could lead to division and misunderstanding.
Sheikh Ateka said the multi-ethnic and racial composition of Muslims drawn from all parts of country reflected the values of mutual relations and understanding among the community and hence Muslims should be at the forefront in ensuring that harmony and national cohesion among Kenyans thrives.
”We are a multi- ethnic and racial society. We represent what the country needs in terms of unity and brotherhood, hence we as Muslim leaders should utilize our positions, time and energy in uniting Muslims and our fellow Kenyans as a way and mean to portray a good image of Islam to other people from various faiths to emulate,” Ateka stated.
Addressing a Muslim gathering at the Kakamega Jamia Mosque and Islamic centre over the weekend, Sheikh Ateka asked both Muslim religious and political leaders regardless of their different political persuasions and affiliations to work as a united body in reflecting the values of unity and brotherhood among Kenyans.
He told Muslim leaders to be at forefront in fighting religious intolerance in the country through preaching peace and foster unity between Muslims and Christians for harmony and mutual understanding, stressing that Islam stands for peace with other communities.
Ateka pointed out that it was only through peaceful coexistence and unity among Kenyans, the country could strive in socio-economic and political spheres and called on Kenyans not to allow themselves to be divided a long tribal and religion line.
At the same Ateka has urged Muslims to invest heavily in the development of their religion.
The CIPK chairman said that investing in Islamic education systems is the only way to fight the increasing misconception about the religion.
“We must always be at the forefront in supporting the construction of Islamic institutions like Madarasa, Mosques and health facilities.” We ask Allah to fill the hearts of our Muslim leaders and business to use their resources, energy and intellect for the development of Islam” he said.
Sheikh Ateka further appealed to education ministry and Teachers Service Commission to address the grievances of NEP striking teachers to ensure smooth learning in schools in the region.
He said the government ought to guarantee the security of the striking teachers as the ongoing boycott has adversely affected the learning of pupils in North Eastern region hence it was important for the government to reach an understanding with teachers so as they go back to classes.