The head (Mufti) of the Muslim community in Rwanda, Sheikh Saleh Habimana, has dispelled fears that Rwandan Muslims could resort to violence in case they had any grievances, adding that it would be better to table such matters to government.
Habimana made these remarks in relation to the recent riots that occurred in neighbouring Kenya, between Muslims and police, which he referred to as a major setback to development.
“If we had any complaints as the Muslim community, I am very sure that we would have discussions with government to solve them amicably, instead of rioting like our counterparts in Kenya,” Habimana said.
Kenyan Muslims recently engaged in series of battles with police following the decision to deport Jamaican Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal, over what they called his “hard line preaching”.
In retaliation, Kenyan police attacked Muslims accusing them of having ties with Al-Shabaab, a terrorist group that operates in war-torn Somalia.
The Mufti added that his dream is to see people work towards unity and development and living in respect without hurting one another.
“Whether it is Christians, Muslims, Seventh day Adventists or any other religions, we must live in harmony,” the Mufti said.
When contacted, the police spokesperson, Eric Kayiranga, also concurred by affirming the good relationship that the police has with the Muslim community.
“We conduct annual meetings with the Muslims as part of our strategy of guaranteeing safety of all citizens, and there are various measures in place to solve any problems that may arise,” Kayiranga noted. “Rioting is not a solution.”
The violence in Kenya left five people dead and the Crown Mosque in ruins.
George Saitoti, the Kenya Minister for Internal Security, was also reported as saying that a number of people had been seen waving placards belonging to Al Shabaab.