On 30th May 2019, the President of Kenya, H.E. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta joined Muslim faith leaders, representatives of faith-based organizations and government officials in advocating for peace and coexistence among people of different religions during an Iftar meeting organized by Jamia Mosque Nairobi. The President was accompanied by the Prime Minister of Yemen, H.E Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed, Cabinet Secretaries; Hon. Najib Balala, CS for Tourism, Hon. Eugene Wamalwa, CS for Devolution, Nairobi Governor, Hon. Michael Mbuvi and National Assembly Majority Leader Hon. Aden Duale. The Secretary General of the Global Network of Religions of Children (GNRC) and Director Arigatou International, Dr. Mustafa Y. Ali, and Arigatou International Advisory Group Member, Sh. Ibrahim Lethome, were also invited to the event.
In his speech, President Kenyatta urged for unity among faiths and among Kenyans. He praised faith leaders at the grassroots who have taken upon themselves to promote interfaith dialogue so as to build peace and coexistence, urging Kenyans to emulate them. The president talked about the power of faith to shape communities, resolve disputes and ensure the safety and wellbeing of all, irrespective of color or ethnicity. He stated that respect and tolerance of one another is the force behind peace and unity. H.E. Kenyatta assured the worshippers that his Government will work closely with the Muslim community in building peace and in preventing radicalization of the Kenyan children and youth into violent extremism.
H.E Saeed of Yemen said that the interfaith Iftar demonstrated the readiness and the solidarity of the Kenyan community to work and coexist with each other, adding that such models are pillars that make Kenya a country to emulate in Africa and beyond. The Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Hon. Najib Balala, the National Assembly Leader, Hon. Aden Duale, Nairobi Governor Hon. Michael Mbuvi also addressed the congregation.
“Religion has the power to cultivate goodness in our heart and protect the wellness of our future generations. And through promotion of interfaith dialogue, Kenya can discover its full potential in peace and sustainable development.” – Dr. Mustafa Y. Ali, Secretary General, GNRC.
Jamia Mosque Chairman, Sh. Mohamed Warfa, noted the Iftar dinner was historic in uniting Kenyans and streamlining the community’s objectives towards a peaceful and inclusive society. Sh. Warfa spoke against crimes committed under the disguise of religion. “When we see violence occasioned, this violence is not occasioned by Muslims or Christians but by criminals. It is these criminals that we fight because they are enemies of Muslims and Christians and all other religious groups,” he added.
President Kenyatta is the first sitting President of the Republic of Kenya to reach out to the Muslim community through the Jamia Mosque Nairobi in an effort to promote peace and development.