MOMBASA The recent death of a Kenyan Muslim in a police raid has stoked fresh tensions between the sizable community and law enforcement authorities over a string of extrajudicial killings and abductions in the African country.
"The responsibility to investigate, it is the police, it is not a human rights organization or anyone else," Khelef Khalifa, director of Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI) told Voice of America.They are mandated by law."
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A 40-year-old Muslim cashier, Omar Faraj, was shot dead by police in October on claims of planning a terrorist attack.
Anti-terror police surrounded Faraj's apartment, opening fire at the building and lobbing canisters of tear gas inside.
After the raid, neighbors found the dead body of the Muslim cashier atop his wife Rahma, who had passed out.
Police said they recovered grenades and ammunition from the apartment, yet none of these items were shown to the public.
But the news is not swallowed by Muslim worshippers at the Memon Villa mosque where Faraj often led prayers.
"They claimed he was found with grenades, and yet we know he doesn't even own a knife to slaughter a chicken," said Joseph Kawemba, who worked with Faraj in the butcher shop since 2008.
He wouldn't even know where to buy a grenade.
These things, they surprise us. Even now.
The death of Faraj is not the first case to stoke tension between Kenyan Muslims and the police.
In August, Muslim scholar Aboud Rogo, who is suspected by the police of having links with the militant Somali group Al-Shabaab, was shot dead.
Though the police deny responsibility, human rights groups believe Rogo's death was one of several extrajudicial killings and abductions carried out by Kenyan security forces.
Earlier in April, Kenyan Muslims protested after the sudden death of two Muslim activists, who had been arrested by people believed to be state security operatives.
Police have denied arresting the pair when relatives and friends sought to ask about their fate.
But to the shock of the Muslim community, the two activists were later found dead.
Kenyan Muslims accuse the police of killing people with impunity on claims of fighting terrorism.
"Now we ask ourselves, why did they go and shoot somebody if that person was not hiding?" Khalifa said.
They could have easily gone to his place of work and arrested him.
"Going to a place at 2 o'clock and terrorizing the whole "neighborhood, it is not fair, really," he said.
Kenya receives US funding and intelligence support for its anti-terror efforts.
In October, it passed new anti-terrorism legislation, giving authorities more leeway to root out suspected terror cells.
At the butcher shop where Faraj worked, the killing has a deep impact.
Many customers have not come backâ¦ the customers who do come are very upset, said butcher Kawemba.
They come here and they cry.
There are nearly ten million Muslims in Kenya, which has a population of 36 million.Muslims make up nearly 98 percent of the communities of the North Eastern Province.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net