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"Mungiki men in bid to join Islam"

by Michael Njuguna ("Daily Nation" [Kenya], June 1, 2000)

About 100 members of the Mungiki sect are taking Islamic lessons in Nakuru town.
Maalim Issa Mbogo, a Muslim cleric, told the Nation yesterday he had supplied them with 5,000 booklets containing basic messages on Islam.
"They are showing a keen interest in Islam," he said. "They accept the Islamic concept of one God and Muhammad as his messenger and are happy to adopt Islamic moral values."
The group attending the Islamic lessons is made of men but Maalim Mbogo said Mungiki women were also willing to learn.
Women's training was being hampered by lack of Islamic teachers, he added.
He said many Mungiki members had been trying to become Muslims since the Kadhi of Nairobi, Sheikh Hammad Kassim, announced he would organise a meeting Mungiki leaders.
"I can say with certainty that Mungiki members are seriously seeking to acquire Islamic teachings. I am already attending to more than 100 of them," Maalim Mbogo said.
He said he did not find anything wrong with Mungiki members taking snuff.
"Muslims smoke and those who wish to chew tobacco do so freely," he said.
Maalim Mbogo said Mungiki members had been criticised and their good intentions dismissed before being heard.
"My appeal to Muslims is that they should not fear the Mungiki . They should be helped to acquire Islamic knowledge. So many want to join Islam and we need a lot of educational literature," Maalim Mbogo said.
He defended sect members against claims that they are drug addicts and crooks.
Members claim they are 95 per cent Muslim but Muslim leaders have been reluctant to declare open support for them because of the sect's violent reputation.
Members have been criticised for advocating female circumcision and taking of snuff.
Mungiki members pray facing Mount Kenya and sacrifice lambs to God, contradicting Christianity which teaches that sacrificing animals to God ended when Jesus Christ offered himself as a sacrifice through crucifixion.

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Revised last: 7-09-2000