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Engage Muslims in the war on terror, Obama urges Uhuru



BY: Abdikadir Okash

NAIROBI—President Barrack Obama has warned Kenyan government against engaging in community marginalisation and blanket condemnation, saying it serves as fodder for terror groups to recruit more members.

Speaking at State House in Nairobi during a joint press conference with President Uhuru Kenyatta, the US leader urged Kenyan government to change tact and rope in the Muslim community into the process of fighting terror.
Terror groups, Obama added, take advantage of the prevailing marginalisation to convince new recruits to join their course.

“Sometimes, through hard experience, we found out that if you paint a particular group of people with the same brush in reaction to terrorism, then that can increase resentment among communities that feel marginalised,” he said.

Obama stated that in the US, the counter-terrorism agencies are winning the war through community engagement and working with them. This, he said, has reduced chances of terror cells sprouting up in the US.

“I shared with the government that in the US, we consciously engage the Muslim community because they are important partners in this process,” he added.

He continued, “The only way to stop the poison being fed on our young people through social media is to have this communities as our ears and eyes on the ground.”

Speaking to the nation after the deadly Garissa University attack, President Uhuru blamed Islamic religious institutions for the process that led to the attack.

“Radicalization that breeds terrorism is not conducted in the bush at night. It occurs in the full glare of day, in madrasas, in homes, and in mosques with rogue imams,” he said.

Kenyatta’s comments put more pressure on Kenya’s Muslim community, who make up about 10 percent of the 44-million-strong population

On targeting Muslim human rights orgernisation and Muslims, Obama said it was not a step that would lead to Kenya winning the war on terror.
“It not good to target a person who is harmless,” he said.

At least four hundred people have been killed by the militant group Al Shabaab on Kenyan soil since Uhuru took power two years ago, including 67 people who died during a siege in September 2013 on a Nairobi shopping mall and the Garissa attack that left at least 150 people, mostly students, killed.

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