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Church Burned by Rioters in Kenya after Slaying of Radical Muslim Cleric

ICC Note:   There has always been some measure of uneasy tension between the Christian and Muslim communities. After the Westgate mall massacre by Al-Shabaab in Nairobi last week, which included targeted torture and murder of Christians, local relations were strained. Earlier this week, Kenyan security services disclosed evidence they believe indicates that the Al-Shabaab terrorists are planning a major attack in the city of Mombasa. Subsequently, sporadic acts of violence and retribution between groups of both faiths began to escalate. The killing earlier today of a radical Imam sparked riots by some Muslims in Mombasa. A Christian church was targeted for retribution and burned. It is not clear who is responsible for the murder of the Imam and his associates, but many local Muslims blame the local police, who are perceived by local Muslims as having a bias in favor of the Christian population. The situation may have calmed today by a massive show of force by security services and police, but it remains  simmering. Look for continued sporadic instances of retribution targeting Christian and churches. The climate may also provide Al-Shabaab with some measure of local support which could enable execution of another large act of terror. ICC urges readers to keep the people of Mombasa in their prayers.

 

10/4/2013 Kenya (Voice of America) - Four people have died and at least seven have been hospitalized in riots that erupted in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa after gunmen shot and killed a popular Muslim cleric and three of his associates.

Rioters burned tires and set fire to a church in unrest that erupted in the wake of Friday afternoon prayers one day after unidentified attackers opened fire on Sheikh Ibrahim Amor and the three other men as they traveled home after delivering sermons at Musa Mosque.

Witnesses say police fired tear gas on Friday and engaged in running battles with Muslim youth in the coastal city's impoverished Majengo neighborhood.

Sheikh Amor was viewed as a successor to Aboud Rogo Mohammed, who preached at the same mosque and was accused by U.S. and U.N. officials of having links to the Somali militant group al-Shabab.

Rights activists accuse Kenyan security forces of targeting and killing alleged Islamist radicals and terrorist suspects, and riots erupted after Rogo was fatally shot in 2012 on the same road where Amor was killed.

Security officials have accused Sheikh Amor of radicalizing young people into terrorism, but police deny killing him, and Mombasa police commander, Robert Kitur, called the situation calm.

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