Respect rights in war on terror, say Muslims

By: ANGIRA ZADOCK

The US should not fund counter-terrorism operations that violate human rights, Muslim leaders said on Thursday.

They also urged the government to end the profiling of Muslims and instead involve them in the fight against terror.

“The US assistance is important. We, however, wish to state that it should be tied to the government’s willingness to embrace human rights,” they said.

The leaders included the vice-chairman of the Nairobi Jamia Mosque, Mr Farouk Adam, the director-general of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims, Mr Abdullatif Shabaan, the executive director of Muslim Human Rights Forum, Mr Al Amin Kimathi and the vice-chairman of the National Muslim Leaders Forum, Mr Al Haji Yusuf Murigu.

They claimed there had been increased cases of reported disappearances and extrajudicial killings of Muslim youth and women who are suspected to be involved in terrorism.

“While we support the government’s efforts to weed out terrorism, we are concerned that the action being taken is selective and often deliberately targeting Muslims,” they said.

Some of the extrajudicial killings, they said, happened a few days prior to the visit of US President Barack Obama.

“These illegal actions are a constant source of pain and agony for the affected families,” they warned.

Last week, President Obama warned that targeting particular communities and organisations in reaction to terrorism could increase the pool of recruits.

He said the rule of law, embracing the civil society, particularly in communities targeted for recruitment by organisations like the Al-Shabaab, is the most effective way in dealing with terror.

“Not only is this practical advice, but it is the right thing to do and it is consistent with the Kenyan Constitution,” said President Obama.

The US Congress enacted the Leahy Law, which bars aid to countries which commit human rights violations.

Mr Al Amin Kimathi urged the State to address the issue of Kenyans who were arrested and taken to Uganda.