Christians, Muslims tussle over Kibera mosque construction
A church has gone to court protesting the construction of a mosque on its land in Nairobi’s Kibera. In a suit filed by the Presbyterian Foundation Limited, the church said the erection of a mosque or Madrassa on their land was a violation of their members’ right to freedom of worship and security.
The church has sued the Interior and National Coordination Principal Secretary, the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims and the Committee of Alqsa mosque Islamic Centre.
The church wants the matter certified urgent and an order issued to block the alleged construction pending the hearing and determination of the case.
Even though the church’s foundation is the one that filed the suit, the church through lawyer Mungai Kalande claimed that the Committee of Alqsa mosque Islamic Centre began the construction in August without seeking their permission.
“Unless the injunctive orders are issued, the church members stand to suffer irreparable loss and damage as their right on freedom of worship and owning property would have been violated,” Mr Kalande said.
The foundation’s Secretary Mr Samuel Njoroge says the land in dispute was leased to the church in January 27, 1995.
However, two months ago, the Committee of Alqsa mosque Islamic Centre, which they claim is an unregistered institution, began the said construction of a permanent structure.
Mr Njoroge argues that members of the church now feel that the action infringes on their right and could lead to sectarian violence between members of the two faiths.
He told the court that the church has severally complained to the county commissioner and the police but no action has been taken.
The church faults Supkem for failing to take control of their members and prevent what they term as illegal actions.
“The church has a right to a holy day of worship but in this case on Sunday’s the Center’s members disrupt our activities in a way that is likely to result in us losing our membership,” Mr Njoroge said.