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Mombasa Imam denies preaching extremism

An Imam in Mombasa on Friday denied that he preaches extremism. Speaking in Old Town after the Friday prayers, Sheikh Khalid Muhammad Ali of Mlango wa Papa Mosque said they were against all teachings that did not foster peace.

Early this week, Mombasa County Commissioner Nelson Marwa said the government was closely monitoring the mosque. He told the mosque’s committee and the youth to stop extremist preaching or they would face the law.

“We have attempted to intervene. There is nothing you will do in this county without the government’s knowledge. This is a general warning to the committee,” Mr Marwa said.

But Sheikh Ali said: “Our preaching and teaching are not extreme. On behalf of the Imams and Sheikhs, I want to make it clear that this mosque preaches peace”.

CRIMINAL ELEMENTS

The Imam acknowledged that there were criminal elements in Old Town but distanced the mosque from the crimes.

“We base our sermons on the teaching of Prophet Mohammed. This is what we tell our youth. We condemn criminal acts carried out by some young men,” he said.

He said the mosque’s leadership held meetings with young men to discourage them from taking part in crime. He added that they met several times with the county’s security team to find out how to combat crime.

Mr Marwa had said: “We are happy that Masjid Musa, Sakina Swafaa and Minaa which were shut for some time but are now peaceful. Their committees have ensured that there is law and order,”

The County Commissioner was to hold a meeting in the evening with security chiefs, local MPs and the governor to plan how to end crime.