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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_custom_heading text=”By Nathan Johnson” font_container=”tag:h6|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1598463055107{margin-bottom: 22px !important;}”][vc_single_image image=”118036″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]04/27/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern)During the COVID-19 pandemic, religious discrimination in Lamu County, Kenya is becoming more intense week after week. International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that local Muslim leaders, who are in control in this heavily Muslim dominated area of the country, have been denying food aid to Christians.

A pastor in Mpeketoni stated that, “This has been ongoing for two months now, although in the start it was not very direct. Corn flour, cooking oil, dry fish, and rice from the government have not been reaching Christians as it is supposed to. At the beginning of the food program, they used to give food to some Christians but now all the relief is taken to Madrassas and Mosques where Christians are verbally threatened or feel sidelined. The distribution of government relief should be done in government schools or at the chief’s camp where everybody is free to go. This is not happening anymore. Christians are suffering under the hands of Muslim chiefs and village administrators.”

A church leader in Witu, Lamu West, also raised concerns about the unequal distribution of government aid. He said, “Even food that is meant for the old and vulnerable in the society is being delivered to Muslim homes only, going past the few Christian homes we have in the community. The Muslim community in Lamu is very powerful and they threatened anyone who tries to question the rogue local authority. Christians are continuing to languish in poverty during the pandemic while their relief is being given as extra share to Muslims.”

A local Christian resident of Hindi named Jane Njeri stated, “Since the pandemic began in early March 2020 there has been issuing of foodstuffs within our area but surprisingly, I have never received any because those who have been issuing the relief are from the Islamic faith, so Christians are not given any.”

Andrew Kibaru Muiruri, a church elder, said, “Within our locality, I have witnessed Christians being discriminated against. When relief is brought by the county government it is taken to the Muslim schools for distribution and Christians are told to keep off because the relief was donated by an Islamic organization overseas for Muslims.”

We have also established that Christian youth are denied employment to the government’s national hygiene program, an initiative to recruit jobless youth to clean up public spaces in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

Nancy Katini shared her frustration, “The government instructed the local administration to recruit youths to do some work of clearing roadsides and cleaning public places and be paid some cash for their living. Most of our youth were left out of the program because they are Christians. We are really worried for them for if they don’t get anything for their needs, they might easily get radicalized.”

This issue of discrimination during the COVID-19 pandemic has been seen in many countries around the world. It is especially true in areas where there are majority populations that hate other portions of their societies. The indigenous ethnic tribes in Lamu are Swahili and Arabs who are predominantly Muslims and hold the majority of local chief, village elder, and elected leadership positions. Please pray and support our brothers and sisters in Lamu who continue to face persecution from their Muslim neighbors.

ICC is currently working with several pastors in this area to help provide aid to the families most in need during this time. Packages of food will be delivered to families who have lost jobs and are not receiving aid because of their faith. If you would like to partner with ICC in help families like these around the world, please consider a gift to ICC’s COVID-19 Crisis Fund.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1598463219330{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected]