Mosque says ‘terror outfit’ UN fingered just a nursery school

Wednesday July 25 2012

By NYAMBEGA GISESA [email protected] AND PETER NG’ETICH [email protected]

A mosque in Nairobi has denied claims by the UN that it funds Somali terrorist group Al-Shabaab.

Pumwani mosque, in Majengo Estate, said Al-Hijra, the name of the organisation allegedly funding Al-Shabaab, is a nursery school.

The UN’s Somalia sanctions monitoring group report says the Muslim Youth Council (MYC), which it accused in an earlier report of being a front for the Islamists “has not only changed its name, but reorganised its membership and finances in order to permit its organisation, Pumwani Riyadha Mosque Committee in Nairobi, to continue funding Al-Shabaab.”

Although officials of the mosque admitted funding Al-Hijra, they said the money was not being channelled to Al-Shabaab.

“I laughed when I read that Al-Hijra was the new name of MYC. This is a nursery school for children from poor families and we subsidise their tuition and pay the teachers,” Pumwani Riyadha Mosque treasurer, Dr Abdallah Waititu, said.

Officials of the mosque, that has for the second time been named in the UN report, denied that they are privy to reports of youth in the estate being recruited for Al-Shabaab.

Dr Waititu said the National Security Intelligence Service had given them a clean bill of health.

“We have been cleared by Kenyan intelligence and it is perplexing why the UN is still condemning us,” he said.

Officials produced statements showing how the mosque spent its money to dispel claims that some of it was channelled to Al-Shabaab.

Dr Waititu blamed his brother, who was sacked last year, for supplying the UN with false information.

“He was sacked for drinking. Months later, he turned up with somebody who claimed to be a UN official who, we learned, was investigating us,” he said.

We were unable contact the brother at time of going to press, but Imam Ezudin Muriuki said his mosque has never conducted illegal activities.

“Those are just allegations, we have never done anything against the will of God,” Mr Muriuki told the Nation.