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Sect Leader Scoffs At Expulsion Threat

By Tervil Okoko, Panafrican News Agency, 30 December 2000

Nairobi, Kenya - The leadership of a Kenyan renegade Islamic "Mungiki" group has dismissed threats by Muslim clerics to expel the group from the faith.

"This (Islam) is a religion and not a political party where one is asked to quit. No one can send a person packing in a religion of God. Let all of us be judged by our deeds and not individuals who have mistaken religion as a private property,"

Ibrahim Ndura Waruinge, the sect leader told PANA. Speaking in Nairobi Saturday, two days after his release from police custody, he lashed out at those asking the sect members to quit the Islamic faith.

He said they did not join the faith to be monitored or dictated to.

Waruinge was arrested two weeks ago by the Kenyan police and he faces criminal charges, including alleged incitement of his sect members to strip naked two women in Nairobi's Kayole estate in October 1999.

In September, the sect members proclaimed themselves Muslims after authorities got hot on their heels, pronouncing the group illegal and unregistered.

Also, the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM), Wednesday warned the sect members to stop their "ungodly activities" or risk being shunted from the Islamic faith.

The sect members have come under a barrage of attacks from members of the Kenyan society because of their alleged strange rituals, beliefs and practices.

It is claimed that the members sniff raw tobacco and preach a return to the old African tradition.

They are also accused of being in support of female genital mutilation, a practice considered repugnant and anti-social.

A SUPKEM official was quoted in the local press as saying that Muslims were contemplating disowning the Mungiki sect members if they "stick to their anti-social activities."

But Waruinge, flanked by other sect leaders Ibrahim Waithaka and Abdallah Wagacha, at a press conference, maintained that the sect members were still part of the Islamic faith and nobody could throw them out "just like that."