MOMBASA – A Kenyan Muslim preacher was shot dead near a mosque in Kenya’s coast city of Mombasa on his way to attend Fajr prayer on Tuesday, June 10, joining other Muslim scholars who have been killed recently by unknown assailants.
"He died on his way to hospital," Mombasa County Commissioner Nelson Marwa told reporters, referring to Sheikh Mohammed Idris, Reuters reported.
“Right now we cannot tell who is behind the killing but we have mounted investigations."
Idris, chairman of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK), was shot dead on his way to a Mombasa mosque for morning (Fajr) prayer on Tuesday by a group of gunmen.
He had previously chaired the committee of the Masjid Mussa mosque in Mombasa, a position he left later Sheikh Aboud Rogo came to the center.
Sheikh Idris is not the first Kenyan Muslim scholars to be shot dead.
Makaburi, a prominent Kenyan Muslim scholar, was killed as he left a court compound about 15 km north of the port city of Mombasa on April 1.
Imam Makaburi’s death revived angry emotions among members of the religious community in the coastal area, where most of Kenya's Muslims live, over past killings of Muslim imams.
Last October, Muslim scholar Ibrahim “Rogo” Omar was gunned down in Mombasa.
His killing was similar to that of imam, Aboud Rogo Mohammed, who was killed in August 2012.
Another unresolved murder of a Muslim preacher is that of Samir Hashim Khan who was allegedly pulled from a public bus in Mombasa in April 2012 by men who identified themselves as police officers.
A few days later, Khan’s badly mutilated body was found dumped, several hundred kilometers away in a wildlife park. Police investigations have yielded no fruits.
Muslim activists have long accused police of organizing extra-judicial killings for Muslim preachers.
They also complain police have not done enough to offer protection when threats have been made.
“We have had several clerics killed before and many times these clerics [scholars] have reported receiving direct threats ... but we have not seen the government take very decisive measures to protect them or find the killers,” said Ahmed Kassim, a former chief kadhi, or judge, in Kenya's Muslim court system.
Kenya Muslims have been sensing eradication of their rights after their country was involved in the so-called war on terrorism in East Africa.
Supported by UK and US, Kenya's anti-terror police have been accused of targeting innocent Muslims with arbitrary arrests and disappearances.
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