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Kenya: Muslims mark 'Id baraza, as Imams fete drug addicts


By Philip Mwakio, Linah Benyawa and Patrick Beja

The Standard:

Chief Kadhi Sheikh Hammad Kassim has hailed organisers of the annual Idd baraza for uniting Muslims.

Speaking when he presided over this year’s event, which brings together leaders after the holy month of Ramadhan, the Chief Kadhi said the function offers an opportunity for Muslims to congregate after a month-long fasting.

Idd baraza has traditionally been held after the end of Ramadhan to provide a platform for leaders to interact and give children gifts.

Yesterday, Mombasa Mayor Ahmed Mohdhar distributed sweets to children.

"We are meeting to share views about the society and make our opinions known to the Government,’’ Sheikh Kassim said.

Government praised

The Chief Kadhi said Muslims pay taxes like other Kenyans and deserve better services.

He used the occasion to appeal to Muslim organisations to work as a team.

"Every day, we see new organisations come up. I appeal to them to co-operate and avoid duplicating issues,’’ the Kadhi said.

Chairman of the Idd baraza organising committee, Sheikh Hamid Ahmed, commended the Government decision to gazette Idd-ul-Fitr as a public holiday and urged that Idd-ul-Hajj be accorded the same status.

Ahmed also said time was ripe for Coast Province to have a university.

Sheikh Twaha Omar, an Islamic scholar, urged Muslims to pray for peace to prevail.

Meanwhile, Coast Imams yesterday threw a rare party.

The Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya, for the first time feted more than 200 drug addicts at Baluchi Hall in Mombasa.

The addicts interacted with the imams as part of efforts by Muslim leaders to fight drug use.

The imams said they gave the addicts time to feel a sense of belonging.

CIPK national organising secretary Sheikh Mohamed Khalifa said the party was used to bring addicts closer. "We have organised this party for the addicts to get an opportunity to talk to us," said Sheikh Khalifa.

Though they appreciated the Imams’ move, some addicts said they could not eat because they were in dire need of drugs.

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