Religious leaders urge unity in the wake of Garissa terrorist attack

Friday April 3 2015

Bishop Julius Kalu of the Anglican Church of Kenya's Mombasa Diocese. FILE PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT

Bishop Julius Kalu of the Anglican Church of Kenya's Mombasa Diocese. FILE PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By LABAN ROBERT
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Christians and Muslim leaders in Mombasa have asked security agencies to act swiftly on intelligence in order to prevent terrorist attacks.

They have also urged Kenyans to remain united in prayer for the victims of the Garissa attack and their families and refuse to be divided along religious lines.

Speaking during a Good Friday service at the Anglican Church of Kenya's Mombasa Memorial Cathedral, Bishop Julius Kalu said terrorists want to divide the country into religious factions and this must be resisted.

“Security forces should not be discouraged in the fight against these terror elements. They should continue fighting to secure the country in a show of patriotism,” Bishop Kalu said.

He urged leaders not to politicise security matters but engage constructively towards uniting Kenyans despite their religious, political or tribal inclinations.

HATE MESSAGES

The Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya condemned the attack and asked the National Cohesion and Integration Commission to take action against social media users spreading hate messages and sensitive images from the incident.

Organising Secretary Sheikh Khalifa said social media should not be used to inflict more pain on the families of the victims.

“As a council of Imams, we condemn the attack on students as we pass condolences to the affected.

“But we cannot turn a blind eye on irresponsible Kenyans using their devices to insensitively circulate disgusting images and writing instigating messages,” he said in a telephone interview, and called on the Commission to act.

Mr Khalifa asked Kenyans to be responsible and help the government in fighting terrorism by giving information.

The two leaders asked security agencies to act swiftly and not to dismiss any tip-offs, no matter how trivial they may seem.

The calls from the religious leaders come barely a day after gunmen stormed Garissa University College, killing 147 students and injuring 79 others.

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack.