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No let-up in Kadhi courts row

ICC Note

Christian leaders in Kenya are opposing the push by Muslims to use taxpayer’s money to run Islamic courts.

By Galgalo Bocha

11/05/2009 Kenya (Daily Nation)-Muslim and Christian leaders meeting in Mombasa on Thursday failed to break an impasse over the inclusion of kadhi’s courts in a new constitution.

The participants at a one-day forum organised by Coast Interfaith Council of Clerics were split down the middle, with Christians digging in their heels against the inclusion of the courts in the constitution while Muslims declared the issue was non-negotiable.

The Coast branch chairman of National Council of Churches of Kenya, Bishop Pius Kagwe, said Christians became wary about including the kadhi’s courts in the constitution after the September 11, 2001, terror bombings in the United States .

Divorce cases

“Christians are being taxed to run kadhi’s courts and pay their salaries, which is unfair,” he said.

Bishop Jembe wa Mumba of the East Africa Pentecostal Church said Christians solved their marriage and divorce disputes in their churches and Muslims should do the same.

Supreme Council of Kenya Muslim Coast branch chairman Sheikh Mukhtar Khitamy reproached the Christian leaders, saying the courts only handled disputes between Muslims and should not be interfered with. Warning that the debate could degenerate into anarchy, he said Muslims would not tolerate further oppression.

Sheikh Khitamy said Muslims had tolerated many historical injustices but the kadhi’s courts issue would determine future relations between Christians and Muslims.

He disputed claims that the courts were to blame for growing extremism in parts of the world.

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