Finn Church Aid (FCA) took initiative to get together different religion leaders to discuss peace in Garissa, Eastern Kenya.
It is only a month ago when islamistic al-Shabaab from neighboring Somalia attacked Garissa University and 148 people got killed. Tensions between Christians and Muslims have been growing since that massacre.
Together with the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM), Council of Imams and Muslim Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) and Garissa Pastors Fellowship in Garissa County, FCA in Garissa brought together 33 religious leaders.
There were imams, sheikhs and pastors to assess their role as peacemakers and trying to agree to certain action points with a view to playing an enhanced role in conflict resolution and peace building.
“Religious leaders from this county have various platforms to use”, Charles Apondu, Field Officer for REGAL-IR project is saying.
The peace meeting agreed to rejuvenate the inter-faith forum as a vital platform for peace building and conflict resolution as well as advocacy and lobbying.
“As expected, the recent terror attack in the the county influenced most of the discussion. It was interesting to note the level of support demonstrated by non-local Christian leaders for their Somali-Muslim counterparts in the fight against terrorism”, Charles Apondu says.
Indeed, the meeting resolved among other things to undertake campaigns to demystify the thought that the recent terror attacks in Garissa are linked to a religious war between Christians and Muslims. SUPKEM was commended for stepping up to vet all Muslim preachers in the county and for actively leading in the dissemination of counter-narratives to help counter radicalization.
FCA is implementing the peace component of a larger program “Resilience and Economic Growth in the Arid Lands – Improving Resilience” (REGAL-IR) by the consortium led by ADESO, African Development Solutions, and funded by USAID
Text: Hilkka Hyrkkö