By Betty Luke
Isiolo Interfaith Council has condemned utterances made by a Somali community elder believed to have been directed to and meant to demean the non-Muslim communities living in the county.
In a video circulating on social media, that has elicited mixed reactions among local residents, the Somali Council of Elders Chairperson is heard advising Muslims to establish political coalitions with fellow Muslims so that in event something bad happens, they (non-Muslims) would not take over the leadership.
“Tukichukua mtu asiye Muislamu alafu yule Muislamu awe kitu, si kafiri inachukua serikali. Kwa wasomali, waborana na muislamu yeyote inahitajika afikirie hii maneno (If we pick a non-Muslim and something happens to the Muslim, the infidel will take over the leadership. The Somali, Borana and all Muslims should think about this),” the elder said.
His sentiments are believed to have been in reference to the ongoing negotiations for deputies of gubernatorial aspirants in the county which majority of the non-Muslims are eyeing.
Kafiri (infidel) means one who doesn’t subscribe to the religion of majority of the population in an area.
Led by the council’s Chair Ahmed Sett, the clerics appealed to leaders to desist from making reckless utterances that could disrupt the peace and tranquility in the county.
“All religions must be respected and leaders should desist using religions for campaigns,” Mr Sett noted.
He urged locals not to be divided along political lines but embrace peaceful coexistence.
Hi sentiments were echoed by the Interfaith Secretary Bishop Stephen Kalunyu who called upon residents and leaders to eradicate negative tendencies that are likely to create situations of violence.
“People should realize that Christians in Isiolo have enjoyed an interfaith environment between Christians and Muslims that respects the spirit of a peaceful coexistence,” said Mr Kalunyu.
The Somali elder has following the criticism come out to defend himself saying he was misquoted and that his sentiments were not directed to Christians but ‘those with no religion’.