Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Kenya Muslims condemn ruling

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Muslim leaders have reacted angrily to Monday's ruling by the three High Court Judges.

The Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims claimed on Tuesday that the ruling was a desperate attempt to derail the constitution making process.

Addressing a press conference in Nairobi, SUPKEM chairman Ghafar Abdul Albusaidi said the ruling will not affect the quest for a new constitution and called on Kenyans to vote for the proposed constitution.

The Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya Organising Secretary Sheikh Mohamed Khalifa, Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims Chairman Abdulghafur El-Busaidy and Kenya Muslim National Advisory Council Chairman Sheikh Ngao termed the verdict of the court as unfortunate.

Albusaidi who read the statement said they had widely consulted with Muslim Leaders, Lawyers and Scholars.

Tourism Minister Najib Balala, Northern Kenyan minister Muhammad Elmi, Energy Assistant Minsiter Mahmoud Mohamed, Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim and Nominated MP Sophia Abdi Noor were among those present at the consultative talks.

He said ruling lacked legal merit and validity.

"We believe this Ruling is made in bad faith, calculated to sow the seeds of discord between Muslims and our non-Muslims brothers and sisters and to adversely influence the outcome of the upcoming Referendum" he stated.

The leaders said the judges relied on Section 82 of the current Constitution which says that no Law can be made which is discriminatory and in so doing purported to outlaw the Kadhis' Court on that basis.

"However, the Judges conveniently failed to take into account the provisions Sub-section 4 of the same section which provides that in matters relating to adoption, marriage, divorce, burial, devolution of property on death or other matters of personal law, the principle of the protection from discrimination shall not apply" they added.

Meanwhile, a section of lawyers are questioning the timing of the high court ruling declaring Kadhi courts illegal.

The lawyers drawn from the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) say the ruling was flawed and has no legal basis.

Addressing a press conference in Nairobi, the lawyers said it was unfortunate that the judges ignored the logic behind the inclusion of the kadhi's courts in the constitution.

Eric Mutua, a LSK member however said the ruling has no legal implication on the proposed constitution that will be subjected to a referendum on August 4th.

A three judge bench ruled that the inclusion of Kadhi courts in the current Constitution is illegal and discriminatory.

The judges, sitting as a constitutional court, said the decision to include the courts in the country's constitution favored one religion over others.

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