Rwandan Mufti Sheikh Swalleh Habimana has called on the country’s Muslims and other believers to pray for Kenyans, whose nation has been rocked by post-election violence, killing over 500 people in the past week.
The violence erupted after President Mwai Kibaki was declared winner over main rival Raila Odinga in a widely disputed poll. The killings have been driven along ethnic and tribal lines, with Kibaki’s Kikuyus against Odinga tribesmen Luo, and vice versa.
Both sides have accused each other of committing genocide.
While delivering sermons during last week’s Juma Prayers, Habimana said there was need for people to ‘make noise’ about what’s happening in Kenya so that genocide does not take place like it did in Rwanda.
“If people had ‘made noise’ genocide would not have taken place in Rwanda in 1959, 63, 73 and finally in 1994. That’s why we need to make noise now and also involve Allah so that the same does not take place in Kenya,” he said.
He argued that people should discard the ‘it doesn’t concern me’ attitude because it’s the main reason people keep murmur about critical issues which evolve into grave situations
Meanwhile, the Mufti appealed to Rwandan Muslims to do anything to consolidate the prevailing peace and stability in Rwanda so that development can be achieved.
He called on all Rwandans to work hard towards achieving the government’s development programmes, singling out the endevour to turn Rwanda into a “leading service provider entity in Africa.”
Habimana was speaking during a ceremony to welcome back home over 174 pilgrims who returned from Mecca recently.
The overjoyed pilgrims were hosted to a reception at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Nyamirambo. Sheik Habimana advised Muslims to help the central government desire to get as many Rwandans out of poverty as possible.
“As a hajji (title for men pilgrims) you have to work 24 hours to help eradicate poverty because a hajji or hajjati (women pilgrims) should not beg,” he cautioned.
He said that there was evidence that Rwanda is becoming a regional service hub after the government came in handy to help Muslims traveling to Mecca when arrangements had become complicated.
“The government through the ministers of Infrastructure and Regional Cooperation helped us with travel arrangements to Mecca yet our neighbouring countries were stuck at airports.”
He noted that many other African countries had failed to send pilgrims to Mecca because of difficult travel arrangements in Saudi Arabia.
“But our group was able to enable our brothers from Burundi and eastern (DR) Congo to go to for the pilgrimage,” he said.
The pilgrimage to Mecca is the last duty to Muslims among the five pillars of believers in Islam.