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Mombasa mosque renamed Masjid Musa as normalcy returns

Friday January 23 2015

Masjid Musa mosque chairman Musa Khatib Khamis

Masjid Musa mosque chairman Musa Khatib Khamis holds a banner showing the restored name of the mosque outside the building in Mombasa on January 23, 2015. The mosque's name had been changed to "Masjid Shuhadaa" (Martyrs Mosque) by cleric Sheikh Abubakar Shariff (aka Makaburi) before he was killed on April 1, 2014. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

WACHIRA MWANGI
By WACHIRA MWANGI
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Mombasa’s controversial mosque, Masjid Shuhadaa (Martyrs Mosque), on Friday got back its original name, Masjid Musa.

The mosque has been at the centre of controversy after suspected radicalised Muslim youth, led by slain Muslim cleric Sheikh Abubakar Shariff (aka Makaburi), changed the name on March 7, 2014.

Masjid Musa chairman Musa Khatib Khamis said they had resolved to restore the old name after consultations with the worshippers.

“Since November 27, 2014, when we officially took over the mosque from the security agents, we have had our prayers going on smoothly. I'm calling upon fellow Muslim faithful to come join us in worship. Calm has now returned to Majengo,” he said.

He urged other sheikhs and imams to join them in restoring normalcy at the mosque.

Mr Khamis said the mosque was known as Musa since his days of youth.

“This name must be maintained. Those youths came and changed it without consultation, and with their twisted doctrines messed up the whole mosque. We want to restore the good name that was lost,” he said.

OPEN TO ALL

Since November, he said, the number of worshippers had been growing, and thanked the county and national governments for helping them to restore order in the mosque.

Mr Khamis advised young people to embrace education and follow parental advice if they want to succeed and bring positive change in the society.

He said lack of formal education among Muslim youth had made them an easy target for extremists.

“It is my desire that the youth take education seriously. We are in communication with the parents and elders to teach our youths the right ways,” he said.

Mr Makaburi announced the change of the mosque’s name outside the Shanzu Law Courts before he was killed on April 1, 2014.

He said the new name was to honour four slain Muslim clerics (Sheikh Shaaban, Sheikh Sameer Khan, Sheikh Aboud Rogo and his successor Sheikh Ibrahim Ismail), who he believed were executed by the police.