SANTA ANA, Calif. (Aug. 28, 2012) – The National Council of Churches in Kenya (NCCK) has strongly condemned retaliatory attacks by Muslim rioters as they protested the killing of Sheikh Aboud Rogo after his van was sprayed with bullets by unknown gunmen Monday in Mombasa.
In a news release, NCCK stated that the vandalism and looting by demonstrators was “unwarranted and atrocious.”
The rioters injured a few innocent worshippers and extensively damaged several churches. The property damaged included the Mombasa NCCK offices, Jesus Celebration Center – Buxton, Pentecostal Assemblies of God – Ziwani, Mombasa Pentecostal Church – Buxton, Seventh Day Adventist Church – Ziwani and Salvation Army Church – Majengo.
The General Secretary of the NCCK, Rev. Canon Peter Karanja, raised the following concerns:
“We have completely failed to understand the logic that made the demonstrators associate the heinous murder of Aboud Rogo with the churches and other innocent Kenyans. The clear message is that these attacks are indicative of a deep seated hatred towards the churches whose cause is inexplicable.”
Open Doors USA President/CEO Dr. Carl Moeller said: “Kenya and the border area between Kenya and Somalia has become a dangerous place for followers of Christ, as well as aid workers trying to help those caught in the chaos and poverty. As we have seen in the past, innocent believers are often targets of the extremists’ rage. Please pray that the Christians there will stay strong in the faith and the rioting will come to an end.”
The late Aboud Rogo was a controversial Islamic cleric who had been detained by the police numerous times on suspicions of being the chief point man, fund-raiser and recruiter for al-Shabab in Kenya. He was arrested a second time in January 2012 and charged with possession of illegal weapons and detonators. He was currently out on bail while the trial progressed.
Known for fiery preaching, and filled with hatred for all infidels, Sheikh Rogo had previously called for and justified a struggle or fight against the enemies of Islam. in areas occupied by non-Muslims.
On July 6 at a Mombasa mosque, he is reported to have supported the July 1 twin Garissa church attacks where 17 Christians were killed and 50 wounded. He described the attacks as retribution by oppressed Muslims and justified it claiming that, “the presence of Christians in that region is a mortal threat that Muslims should confront. The churches and evangelicals have an agenda to oppress Muslims.”
In that sermon, Rogo was reported angry at the decision by Garissa Muslim and Christian leaders to work closely after the killings. He also expressed outrage at churches in what he termed as “Muslim territories” such as northern, eastern and coast provinces of Kenya. He allegedly stated, “churches in Muslim territory represent a vile form of Muslim retardation which devout Muslims should confront, hence the killing of 17 people is too small.”
The killing of Rogo, held in high regard by some Muslim youth, immediately sparked widespread riots in Mombasa. Regular police and paramilitary officers cleared the streets as traders hastily closed down their shops. Looting erupted around the Masjid Musa mosque where Rogo’s supporters had laid his body before burial. The Associated Press reported rioting continued today with several injuries from a grenade attack.
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