Kenya: Muslim group demanding sacking of Kenyan minister for remarks to hijabi Muslim journalist

By Andrew Wasike

NAIROBI, Kenya (AA): Kenyans online joined the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) on Tuesday in condemning comments by Education Minister George Magoha for “al-Shabaab” remarks to a hijab wearing Muslim female journalist.

SUPKEM has called for the immediate sacking of Magoha.

Magoha was speaking to the media when, in response to a question by the journalist, he asked her: “First of all, where do you come from? Who are you representing? Because if you are representing Al Shabaab, I will not answer you.”

The exchange was captured on video at a Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) junior classrooms event.

After she identified herself as working for NTV Kenya, Magoha said: “NTV is a good station, so I will answer you.”

The exchange took place during a function at Pumwani Girls and Pumwani Boys secondary schools in Nairobi after he laid a foundation stone for the second phase of the building of Competency-Based Curriculum junior high classrooms.

SUPKEM Chair, Hassan Ole Naado, told journalists during a press conference at the Jamia Mosque in the nation’s capital Nairobi that he is asking the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) to take action against Magoha.

“We are concerned about profiling a female reporter by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha because of her dressing based on Islam, the minister and seeing her as if she was representing a terrorist organization. The comments have saddened us especially because they are remarks coming from a leader of his caliber. ”

“The consequences of this profiling from a leader of the CS’s stature undermines the constitutional and human rights, religion, human dignity and press freedom. The utterances exposed the lady and all Muslim girls and women to danger,” added Ole Naad

“It is very unfortunate that these utterances are coming in this tense election season at a time when the country needs a call for peace and harmonious coexistence of communities,” said Ole Naado.

Naado also urged Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to dismiss Magoha, a view that was backed by Muslim leaders.

“Magoha should be fired immediately because he lacks morals,” he demanded.

Muslim Women Caucus official Fauzia Hassan, Association of Muslim Lawyers in Kenya Chairperson, Khadija Mohamed, and Muslim Media Practitioners of Kenya Chairman, Juma Namlola, National Muslim Leaders Forum (Namlef) Vice-Chairman Al-Hajj Yusuf Murigu supported Ole Naado.

Ms Hassan called out Prof Magoha for criticising Muslim attire and profiling Islam and demanded respect for the religion.

“As Muslim women, we have suffered silently for long but we must stand up so that this kind of treatment can end. This shouldn’t have come from a CS,” she said.

“Magoha’s comments were unwarranted and very devastating. As a CS, he should be preaching unity. He insinuated the lady was representing a terrorist group,” Ms Mohamed said.

“It’s absolutely unacceptable, He is opening a new door for Islamophobia in Kenya,” wrote Hussein Mahdi, a netizen on Twitter.

Shukri Ahmed, another netizen encouraged Kenyatta to take action.

“Mr President, please sack this arrogant and ignorant Prof. We shouldn’t have people like Magoha at the helm of our Education ministry,” he wrote.

Garissa Township MP Aden Duale condemned Magoha for “religious profiling”

“To imagine our beloved children who you are responsible for hearing you say those words is Unacceptable! Shame on you! Again, “Duale said.

“Is it wrong for a female journalist to ask CS questions? Is it wrong if the female journalist is Somali, or because she is Muslim?” Duale asked.

“What is even more horrifying is how other public officers standing next to the cabinet secretary are laughing their hearts out at the stale joke and unfortunate, display of bloated backwardness by the CS,” Duale added.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Map of Kenya by CIA Factbook/Public Domain]

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