Will Islamic law come to Kenya?

By December 19, 2007

Kenya (MNN) — With the election coming December 27, promises and alliances are dominating the political landscape in Kenya. The West African country has more than 40 ethnic groups, and they may determine who wins the presidential election. However, the opposition candidate and front runner seems to have a controversy brewing.

Reports indicate Raila Odinga has signed a memorandum of understanding with local Muslims promising to impose Sharia law for Muslim-held areas of the country. Voice of the Martyrs' Todd Nettleton says, "He has responded to that claim saying, 'No, it's not for Sharia Law. I simply have promised that I will not allow Muslims to be discriminated against if I take office.' So it's hard to say exactly what the agreement was."

Nettleton says one thing is certain. "We do know there was a signed agreement with Muslim leaders. We don't know if that had to do with (for sure) pushing for Sharia, or if it was simply a goodwill gesture that there wouldn't be discrimination as a way to try to lure those votes."

One-third of the population identify themselves as Muslims. Two-thirds of the country are non-Muslim. Nettleton's not sure how this will play out in the populous. "If they believe the currently government that this would be a push for Sharia law, I think it would signal more support for the government. I think if they believe this is somehow misinformation, though, it's hard to predict if they might swing back to the opposition."

According to Nettleton, "I think Kenya is at a crossroads. The Muslim population is growing, and so there is more push for more political power for Muslims. Now, whether that is going to lead in the short-term to Sharia law — I have a hard time believing that. But long-term it's hard to say what might happen."

Christians are being urged to pray that Kenya doesn't turn into another Nigeria where Sharia law was supposedly only for the Muslims. "Since that law has come into effect, we have seen cases where Christians were prosecuted and accused under Sharia mandates."

Nettleton is also urging Christians to pray that voters will be wise in their choice for president, and that religious freedom would be preserved.

 

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