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Chief Kadhi says he will not be cowed over stand

Chief Kadhi Ahmed Muhdhar has told off his critics, saying he will not be intimidated over his stand on the issue of Eid ul-Adha celebrations date.

Speaking at Ronald Ngala Primary School in Mombasa where he joined Muslim faithful during prayers to mark Eid-ul-Adha, Sheikh Muhdhar said Muslims in Kenya are strict followers of the Quran and should not be forced to follow what other nations are doing.

The Chief Kadhi spoke just a day after a section of Muslim leaders among them National Assembly Leader of Majority Aden Duale warned that he would petition the Judicial Service Commission to discuss his conduct for abuse of office.

Internal Security Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i had gazetted Tuesday as a public holiday to allow Muslims to commemorate the festival, however, the Chief Kadhi said the celebrations should have been marked yesterday.

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala called for the establishment of office of Mufti (an Islamic scholar who interprets and expounds Islamic law) to advice on Islamic matters.

Balala  vowed to spearhead efforts to establish the office of the Grand Mufti, the highest office of religious law in Islam, in the country.

If appointed the Grand Mufti will be the chief Islamic judge and the sole authority with mandate to issue religious verdicts.

Balala said the Muslim community in the country has been beset by disagreements and debates on when to mark important religious festivals such as EId ul-Adha (the festival of sacrifice) and Idd-ul-Fitr (festival of breaking month-long fast).

The CS said the community has failed to unite and speak in one voice when it comes to the dates of the fasting month of Ramadhan and when the two important annual festivals should be observed.

Speaking on Tuesday at Sheikh Zayed Centre in Mombasa after attending the EId ul-Adha special prayers, Balala said the community also failed to agree on issues of family planning and bank interest rates known as ‘riba’.

“While others say interest on loans is not allowed, others say interest is the same as profit, which is allowed in Islam,” he observed.

Sheikh Muhdhar said divisions among Muslims in regard to Eid celebrations have existed for years, therefore, the split among the faithful should not be misconstrued as fighting.  He asked leaders to stop politicising issues of religion.

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