Muslim-State Relations in Kenya

  • Mario Aguilar
Part of the The Modern Muslim World book series (MMUS)


On April 2, 2015, a group of armed men belonging to the Islamist movement Al-Shabab attacked and killed 147 students at the University of Garissa in Eastern Kenya.1 The attack followed previous terrorist attacks on the US Embassy in Nairobi (August 7, 1998, attack combined with an attack on the US Embassy in Dar-es-Salaam) and at a shopping mall in Nairobi (September 21, 2013, 67 dead). The worrying factor in the Garissa incident was the fact that those holding student hostages requested them to cite parts of the Qur’an in order to be certified as Muslims. Those who either were dressed as Muslims or were able to recite verses from the Qur’an were spared while Christians and those unable to recite the Qur’an were assassinated. The attackers spoke of discrimination against Muslims in Kenya while some within Kenya openly suggested that Somali Muslims should be expelled from Kenya. It is a fact that throughout the postattack analysis questions were once and again asked about the loyalty of a minority Muslim community to the state of Kenya and also about the military involvement of Kenya in Somalia. These questions of state allegiance by Muslims in Kenya, their rights, and obligations has been a recurrent theme in Muslim-state relations in Kenya since Kenya’s independence.


Muslim Woman Christian Church Constitutional Reform Secular State Muslim Minority 


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© Mario Aguilar 2016

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  • Mario Aguilar

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