NAIROBI—Supreme Court of Kenya’s recent decision to allow the registration of a gay and lesbian lobby group has ignited strong opposition from the country’s Muslim community.
The ruling has triggered a heated debate, with religious leaders condemning it as a challenge to cultural and moral values. The Jamia Mosque Committee of Nairobi and the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK), representing the Muslim community, issued a press release expressing their deep shock and disappointment at the court’s verdict. They described the ruling as “shocking, inappropriate, and entirely unacceptable.”
These two prominent Muslim organizations have previously raised concerns, including apprehensions about a concealed agenda to promote homosexuality in schools and presence of children’s books promoting LGBTQ+ rights in major bookstores.
The ruling, delivered by a five-judge panel led by Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu on Tuesday, September 12, dismissed a review application filed by Homa Bay Town MP George Kaluma.
Kaluma sought to overturn the court’s earlier judgment delivered on February 24, 2023. In February, the judges had ruled in favor of the LGBTQ+ group and rejected the government’s appeal to prevent their registration.
Deputy Chief Justice Mwilu, leading the five-judge bench, emphasized that the apex court could not re-evaluate or revise its decisions, citing Section 21A of the Supreme Court Act as the guiding legal framework for such actions. Chairman of the Jamia Mosque Committee Sheikh Muhammad Osman Warfa, expressed profound concerns over the potential societal repercussions of the ruling. He
argued that the majority of Kenyans adhere to Christianity, Islam, and traditional beliefs, all of which universally regard homosexuality as immoral, objectionable, and a criminal act.
“We call upon other faith groups and well-intentioned Kenyans to unite in a collective voice against these initiatives, which, if allowed to prosper, could undermine longstanding societal values and the institution of marriage and family as we know it,” he stated.
Sheikh Abubakar Bini, Chairman of the North Rift Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK), also strongly denounced the decision, asserting that it contradicted religious, cultural, and moral values.
“The Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) joins other Kenyans from different religious persuasions to condemn in the strongest possible terms this unfortunate judgment by the Supreme Court” said Sheikh Bini.
He called on Kenyans to unite against the judgment, emphasizing the potential normalization of LGBTQ+ individuals in a society that presently outlaws same-gender sexual activity.
Sheikh Bini urged other faith groups and well-meaning Kenyans to collaborate in safeguarding the institution of marriage and the traditional family structure.
In their final findings, the Supreme Court judges reiterated that any review of their decisions must adhere to the specific criteria outlined in Section 21A of the Supreme Court Act.
They ruled that George Kaluma’s application did not meet these requirements and underscored that he was not a party to the original case proceedings, rendering him ineligible to seek a review.