NAIROBI - Muslim organizations in Kenya have thrown their weight behind a proposed bill to fight terrorism in the eastern African country, stressing that terrorist acts run counter against the Islamic teachings.
We fully support the Bill, we have gone through it and it has catered for all the interests," Sheikh Athman Mponda, Chairman of the Association of Muslim Organizations in Kenya, told a press conference in Nairobi cited by All Africa website.
It is not discriminatory to the Muslim community.
The new anti-terror bill specifies punishment on people found guilty of committing terrorist acts.
It also outlines actions should be taken by law enforcement authorities against terror suspects.
The bill, which is due to be discussed by the parliament, also spells out how suspects should be handled or treated while in police custody.
Under the draft, suspects should not be mistreated or humiliated by police and should not be kept in custody past a 24-hour period without a court ruling.
The bill is an amended version of a draft introduced in 2003, but was withdrawn after opposition from Muslim groups.
Mponda said that the new bill fully recognizes the rights of Kenyan Muslims and should not be seen as discriminatory.
This Bill is going to help the government fight terrorism within the law, he said.
Other than a few clauses which need to be amended, the entire Bill is ok.
Muslim leaders stressed that terrorism runs counter to the teachings of Islam.
"Terrorism is a crime," Mponda said.
"There is nowhere in the Qur'an where it is stated that someone should kill another person, he said.
The Qur'an is very clear and does not even allow anyone to kill him or herself, so why should people engage in suicide bombing?"
Islam takes an uncompromising position against terrorism.
In 2008, thousands of Muslim scholars from across India denounced terrorism as a violation of Islamic teachings, calling it the biggest crime as per Qur'an."
Another Britain-based Muslim scholar, Sheikh Tahir ul-Qadri, issued a 600-page fatwa in May 2011, condemning suicide bombings, kidnappings and the killing of innocent people as absolutely against the teachings of Islam.
Mponda also said that the new bill comes in a right time for the country to fight terrorism.
"We have heard of many young men traveling to Somalia to go fight what they are terming as the Jihad war, why should they travel to Somalia, why should they engage in a war and claim they are joining a religious war?" Mponda said.
He insisted that the war in the lawless neighboring country, which has remained without a government for two decades, is not religious and only aimed at killing innocent people.
At least three people were killed in a deadly bombing at a nightclub in Mombasa on Sunday.
Though there was no claim of responsibility, the Kenya government suspects the Somali militant group Al-Shabaab is behind the attack.
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.