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Muslims angered by media bias

By KARIUKI WAIHENYA 
and MAGUTA KIMEMIA 

Muslims yesterday accused the Western media of failing to understand their religion.

Islam had "deliberately been misconceived to be synonymous" with terrorism and unjustified war, they said.

Speakers at the Hussein Day at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, explained that contrary to "falsehoods" propagated by the Western media, Islam was not a threat to global security.

The theme of the forum was "Terrorism, war and peace: An Islamic perspective".

Britain-based Sheikh Arif Abdul Husyan talked of a "global Islam phobia", saying it was wrong to tarnish Islam because of the actions of individual Muslims.

"The September 11 attacks in the US were wrong because innocent people were killed. Muslims believe in law and justice," he said.

"Islam, like other religions, permits violence and war to combat violence and to preserve the rights of the poor and the weak," he added.

Dr Mustapha Hasuna said there was an information gap between Muslims and the rest of the world, hence the misunderstanding about what Islam stood for.

"Muslims should continuously seek dialogue with other people to ensure they are understood," he said.

He added: "We have a duty to show that ours is truly a religion of peace. We have to do this to correct the erroneous impression about us."

Safina chairman Farah Maalim said the misconception was deliberate "because even the Western media know our ideals, our values and what we stand for".

Meanwhile, the government has been urged to seek aid from Muslim nations instead of relying solely on Western donors.

The Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (Supkem) said Muslim countries and institutions were willing to assist Kenya in development. Some African nations such as Uganda and Mozambique had benefited a lot from aid from the Muslim world, the council said.

It accused IMF and the World Bank of engaging in a hide-and-seek game with Kenya. It asked why the two institutions were hardening aid conditions despite the progress made by Kenya in improving governance in the past 10 years.

"This is not the way to encourage the political and democratic transition that has been taking place since 1992," Supkem chairman Abdulghafur El-Busaidy said in Nairobi on Saturday.
 


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