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Muslims unsafe as violence rises in Kenya

Kenya's largest city and Capital- Nairobi
Kenya's largest city and Capital- Nairobi
Getty Images

Kenyan youths threw rocks at police as they shouted, “release our brothers,” referring to more than 100 people arrested in Majengo on Sunday. Later, police patrolled the deserted streets after the riot and unrest subsided.

Kenyan police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd as Muslim youths, for the second day, protested against a raid on a mosque used by firebrand preachers in the port city of Mombasa.

A country still reeling and under pressure from a previous September raid by Somali militants on luxury shopping mall grounds in Nairobi, dismantling Islamist recruitment networks among its Muslim minority has become a priority for Kenya. The killing spree in Nairobi left at least 67 dead.

Police in efforts of mending the turmoil plan to charge the 129 men with being members of the terrorist group, and tie it to al Shabaab. A Mombasa court on Monday heard the case brought to them, and granted the police request to keep the prisoners in detention for five more days in order for authorities to finish their investigations.

Allegedly Muslim youths were being lead by Islamists supporting al Shabaab (Somali militants allied with al Qaeda), so when police received a tip that Muslim youths were being radicalized by Islamists police stormed the Mussa mosque in Majengo on Sunday.

Security sources report that the mosque has been at the heart of al Shabaab’s strong attempts to radicalize misguided and disillusioned Kenyan Muslim youth within recent years. As police seized personal belongings such as black banners with the jihadi slogans printed on them, DVDs, and laptops they came under fire for the raid.

Police and citizens alike are heavily concerned with the decrease in foreign tourism due to the damage and fear the riots have caused, and the occasional grenade attacks haven’t helped to spike up foreign travel to Kenya’s coastal region- which is heavily dependent on tourism.

Two protesters were killed on Sunday, five died in the struggle and chaos, and a police officer was critically wounded. The war against Muslims has caused catastrophic issues, and with high tensions on Kenya’s mainly Muslim coast several Muslim clerics and Christian preachers have been assassinated.

Just in October, Muslim youths set fire to a Mombasa church after Islamist cleric Sheikh Ibrahim Omar was killed in a drive-by shooting- with many Muslims blaming police for his death. Omar’s mentor, Sheikh Aboud Rogo, was shot dead in 2012 in another drive-by attack. Both men preached at Mussa mosque, therefore bringing on deeper turmoil between the police and Muslims. Prior to Rogo’s death, he had been accused of sourcing funds and recruits for al Shabaab by United Nations investigators, while Kenyan authorities charged him with terrorism.

With the United States having frozen Rogo’s assets, and after he had undergone heavy-handed tactics by Kenyan police- this stirred even more anger, rebellion, and violence amongst many.

However, Kenyan police deny brutality and continue to report, “We’re tackling a major threat to national security.” With Nairobi being Kenya's largest city and the Capital, police are in over their heads with terrorism.

Right in Nairobi, four Somali men were charged on Monday with the possession of explosives and attempting to commit a terrorist act at Nairobi’s international airport- where a blast shook a small coffee shop. No injuries were reported.

Kenyan police believe this attack is just one of many terrorism attacks to come. Court papers show plans to execute more intricate terrorism attacks, and intricate plans to take down government buildings and foreign establishments. Unrest is threading throughout, and what will happen to the youth protesting or rioting for the men to be released?

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