Courtesy of Friday Bulletin
1.Withdrawsyringes for drug users,
Muslim leaders in Mombasa have called on the government to withdraw immediately the ongoing issuance of the free syringes and needles to intravenous drug users. The government was asked to stop the programme targeting 49,000 drug addicts in Mombasa and Nairobi.
A meeting of the leaders who included the Chief Kadhi Sheikh Ahmed Muhdhar condemned the distribution of Injecting Drug User Syringes (IDUS) to hard drug users in various parts of Coast province.
The campaign is being undertaken by The National Alcoholic and Drug Abuse Authority. Scholars who attended the forum organized by Umoja wa Waislamu wa Afrika Mashariki and the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya in Mombasa dismissed the campaign as a commercial enterprise driven by those behind illegal drug trade. In the resolution read by nominated MP Mohammed Dor,
Mohammed Dor, the leaders also cast doubt over government commitment in the fight against drug abuse. They said the issuance of the free syringes to addicts was a major setback.
“We wish to ask the government what success it has gained in reducing HIV and Aids prevalence in its previous campaign to distribute free condoms. The obvious answer is none,” Sheikh Dor said. Former Chief Kadhi Sheikh Mohammad Kassim said the distribution of free syringes to addicts would not help in reducing the spread of HIV among the targeted victims.
“This problem will not help drug addicts escape from HIV and Aids and a new approach is required to address their plight,” he said. The leaders further resolved to block the government and international agencies from distributing free syringes and needles reportedly saying that if the government was sincere in its efforts to reform the addicts, it should have used the funds to establish rehabilitation centers.
In a related development, the chairman of the Sharrif Nassir Foundation Abdulswamad Nassir challenged the students to also contribute towards the fight against drug abuse among Muslim youth.
Addressing members of Muslim Students Association of Mombasa Polytechnic University College, he observed that a vast majority of hard drug users are Muslim youth despite their religion prohibiting illicit drug use.
We have more than 20 000 drug users in this region and the figure is increasing every day. It is also sad that that majority of these victims are Muslims and yet our religion discourages drug use,” Ab- dulswamad said.
He said reports from rehabilitation and outreach centers in the region also indicate a rapidly rise in the numbers of young women..
Ethiopian Muslims protests gov't crackdown
2.Hundreds of thousands of irate Ethiopian Muslims took to the streets of Addis Ababa last weekend in Africa’s biggest protests since Tahrir Square. They want the government to stop meddling in their religious affairs and acknowledge that Muslims can’t remain marginalized and oppressed.
Participants claimed that somewhere between 500,000 and one mil- lion Muslims gathered in and around one of the city’s main mosques in a blatant show of defiance against the Government, while smaller marches took place in other cities across the country.
The standoff between the government and Ethiopian Muslims rallying for a greater religious freedom and in opposition to what they call a flagrant interference in their religious affairs, which continued amidst a government violent crackdown on peaceful protestors.
The Ethiopian federal police fired rounds of live bullets and teargas into the protestors at the Grand Anwar Mosque. At least four Muslims were shot dead while several others were seriously injured on July 13 when Ethiopian security forces stormed into a mosque in the capital Addis Ababa. “They broke the door and entered and started shooting at Muslims,” Ahmedin Jebel, representing a mosque community group said. Thousands of Ethiopian Muslims streamed toward the capital’s largest mosque in response to distress calls that were heard from mina- rets following the police attack.
The attack followed the arrest of two members of a committee elected by Ethiopian Muslims to formally voice protests of Muslims against government’s interference in their religious affairs. Several events of unity have been organized across Ethiopia. The events are seen as a practical response to the government’s at- tempt to divide the Muslim population along sectarian lines. Muslims say the government is spearheading a campaign in collaboration with the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs to indoctrinate their community with the ideology of a sect called “Ahbash”.
The government of Ethiopian Premier Meles Zenawi has put the Ahbash in charge of the religious affairs of Ethiopia’s Muslims. Muslims say the government move is in violation of the constitution, which prevents the government interference in religious affairs. Muslims also accuse the Ahbash of launching an “indoctrination program” in predominantly Muslim areas, forcing people to attend “religious training” camps or risk police interrogation and possible arrest.Founded by Ethiopian-Lebanese preacher Abdullah al-Harari, Ah- bash is seen by the West as “friendly." Muslims say Ahbash imams are being brought over from Lebanon to fill the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs and teach Ethiopians that “Wahabis” are non-Muslims. (Agencies