Mombasa Police raid Masjid Musa pull down a sign
Police officers on Saturday raided the controversial Masjid Musa in Majengo and pulled down a signboard that renamed the mosque as Masjid Shuhadaa, or Matyrs’ Mosque. A combined team of GSU and anti-riot officers combed Majengo before they successfully removed the wooden signboard that radical youth had.
The operation that was led by Mombasa police boss Geoffrey Mayeik comprised more than 100 police officers who patrolled the area to avert retaliation from the youth.
The late Muslim cleric Sheikh Abubakar Makaburi announced the change of the mosque’s name before he was killed. He said the new name was to honour four slain Muslim clerics. He believed they were executed by the police, an allegation vehemently denied by security offiers.
They include Sheikh Shaaban (only identified by one name), Sheikh Sameer Khan, Sheikh Aboud Rogo and his successor Sheikh Ibrahim Ismail. Before his death, Makaburi was quoted saying the renaming provides solace to the pained Muslim community who have lost their loved ones by unknown gunmen suspected to be security agencies.
However, Mombasa county CID boss Henry Ondiek said the officers were acting on intelligence information on ongoing radicalisation activities in the mosque. Ondeik urged local religious leaders to reach out to the youth and deter them from falling into the trap of radicalisation.
He appealed to the leadership to oversee the constitution of a new committee to replace the previous ones to run the Masjid Shahudaa and Masjid Mujahidin (former Sakina mosque) both in Majengo.
On Friday, police stopped youth from reviving the Sakina Mosque and pulled down a wooden signboard at the mosque’s main gate where the youths had renamed it Masjid Mujahidin.
“Both mosques have landed into the hands of radicals after they ousted legitimate Imams. We cannot allow these individuals (youth) to continue preaching violence and religious intolerance. He said the youths changed the names of the mosque without approval of Muslim leadership.
“The meaning of the two names (Mujahidin and Shahudaa) may be construed to imply violence. Unless the naming is sanctioned by bonafide Muslim leadership we are not going to allow it as security agencies,” said Ondeik.
Mombasa county commissioner Nelson Marwa said they are still profiling the mosque which they suspect is engaged in radicalisation and supporting the al-Shabaab activities in the coastal region.