Muslims in the country have been urged to help in the fight against youth radicalism.
The message was delivered at a meeting that brought together Police, Muslim leaders and local leaders in the Southern Province, on Monday.
The meeting was attended by the Regional Police Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police Dismas Rutaganira, and the head of the Muslim community in Rwanda, Mufti Sheikh Salim Habimana.
The Southern Province Governor, Alphonse Munyantwari, said that the few cases of radicalisation that have so far been identified in the country should be a lesson to base on in creating partnership in fighting such extremist tendencies.
“Sustainable security and development requires everyone’s efforts, including faith-based organisations; you should endeavour to show your followers the right path and their roles in building a safer country because there could be some individuals that want to take advantage of their naivety to lure them into criminal activities,” Governor Munyentwari said.
The Mufti echoed the Governor’s message, saying “Islam prohibits violence.”
“People shouldn’t be made to believe that radical organisations or terrorism represent our religion. Whoever engages in such acts will be going against the beliefs of Islam,” Sheikh Habimana said.
Speaking on the process of radicalisation, Rutaganira noted that terrorists use online platforms to lure innocent victims into their ranks, as well as propagating falsehoods and extremist ideas.
He appealed to everyone to join efforts to preach against extremism and crime prevention in general and share timely information on anyone that could be involved in any unlawful acts.
“We can’t afford to go back to the dark days, neither should we allow anyone or any group to stand in our way in development,” ACP Rutaganira said, referring to the country’s recovery from the tragedy of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and the need to consolidate the gains made thus far.
Following the meeting, Muslim leaders pledged to create a forum where they can always interact with security and local authorities to exchange information on any suspected criminal or criminal activities.
Similar campaigns were held in Bugesera, Rwamagana, Musanze and Kicukiro districts, where police officers met with different groups of Muslims, including youths and Imams.