Saturday, June 25, 2005

Kenyans Should Speak Out Against Christian and Muslim Extremists in Our Midst!

Onyango Oloo Steps on a Bed of Thorns...

1.0. Breaking News Featuring Two Religious Fundamentalists

One of the first things I did today after switching my eyes on this morning was to turn on the idiot box.

I wandered over to the main propaganda channel to see what CNN was reporting. I was struck by two closely related stories happening a world apart.

Just across the Canadian border- actually, a little bit further off in the City of New York- I found out that the

Reverend Dr. Billy Graham, still going strong at 86, had just kicked off the first of a three-day series of "crusades" in the famed Central Park. The ageing reverend used to be a staple of my "chapel" periods on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I was a secondary school student at Mombasa Bapist High School in the 1970s.

Flipping through the tube looking for something more homegrown(as in Canadian content) I came across the CBC's coverage of the elections across the oceanic,religious and ideological divide that separates the fundamentalist Christian cleric Billy Graham from

Ahmadinejad Mahmoud, the "hardline mayor" of Teheran who has just been elected with 62% of the vote to be the next President of Iran.

For some reason, these two news items gave me a flashback to a conversation I was having with a certain Swahili Muslim friend of mine here in Toronto recently. Actually, it is with quite a few Muslim friends of mine but I will combine all their observations into one summary when I continue with this theme in a couple of minutes.

2.0. The Courage To Utter Uncomfortable Secular Truths About Religious Extremism

Before I embark on that journey I want to preface my comments with an obvious but necessary caveat:

This piece is NOT inspired or informed by any venomous disdain or ferocious vendetta for any people of faith be they Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists,or African Traditionalists. One of the puerile stereotypes about Marxists is that we "hate" religious believers and we spend all our waking moments trying to belittle their faith. The fact of the matter is that it is often socialists (and other democratic minded atheists) who stand up for religious freedoms when the holy joes and sanctimonious janes are too scared to speak out against repression, intolerance and religious discrimination.

In my particular case, I have pointed out to my Christian friends that I grew up as a Christian and have too many connections with sincere Christians to "hate" Christianity- my mother was Born Again, so is my fiancée. For a more detailed exposition of my attitude towards Christianity see my 2004 essay titled Oloo's Rhumba With Christianity.

In Kenyan online circles, I have been among the most VOCAL DEFENDERS of Muslims and their rights as you can see from this essay posted at Mashada called Let Us Listen to Our Muslim Brothers and Sisters; this radio documentary on the oppresion of Muslims in Kenya;this rejoinder to Guardian(UK) columnist Polly Toynbee on Islamophobia and the Left; a sharp riposte on Mambogani decrying Another Day, Another Deranged Attack on Kenyan Muslims.

I will therefore IGNORE any yelps from any hecklers who try to twist and distort my ensuing SECULAR and CANDID comments by flinging that tired "godless infidel" card on the table. If you are planning to do that, dear reader, then let me tell you in ADVANCE to get out of my face already!

Just to make sure there is no misunderstanding about what I am going to be talking about:

Onyango Oloo would like to CONDEMN and DENOUNCE in the strongest terms possible the creeping manifestation of religious extremism in Kenya of both the CHRISTIAN and MUSLIM varieties. Onyango Oloo will argue that the so called "fundamentalist" versions of these two world religions may have very little connection to the actual faiths that some extremists from both religions try to peddle as the "pure" version of Christianity and Islam respectively. Onyango Oloo would want to urge sincere and serious Christians and Muslims to stand up against the religious bullies in their respective communities and completely rebuff their dangerous and warped agendas. Onyango Oloo hopes to ignite an honest, frank and open exchange of views among Kenyans who are Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, African Traditionalists, Agnostics and of course, Atheists like Onyango Oloo himself. Have I earned myself a spot at the fiery stake or an interesting date on the executioner's block? Well, so be it.

As I continue with this digital intervention, I am inspired by the following words:

"The greatest truth is honesty, and the greatest falsehood is dishonesty."

Khalīfah Abu Bakr al-Siddiq (r.a) (born,c. 573; died – August 23, 634)

"I'm a Muslim. I've been a Muslim for 20 years. . . . You know me. I'm a boxer. I've been called the greatest. People recognize me for being a boxer and a man of truth. I wouldn't be here representing Islam if it were terrorist. . . . I think all people should know the truth, come to recognize the truth. Islam is peace."
Muhammad Ali speaking on September 21, 2001 at a fundraiser for victims of the WTC and Pentagon attacks.

Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Gospel According to John 8:32

Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.'

Kahlil Gibran (Lebanese born American philosopher 1883 - 1931)

Children say that people are hung sometimes for speaking the truth.
St. Joan of Arc

"We have been silent witnesses of evil deeds. We have been drenched by many storms. Experience has made us suspicious of others and kept us from being truthful and open. Are we still of any use?"
"Telling the truth ... is not solely a matter of moral character; it is also a matter of correct appreciation of real situations and of serious reflection upon them."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer
1906-1945;Theologian, spiritual writer,author of fiction and poetry,central figure in the Protestant church struggle against Nazism

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.
George Orwell, well known British Anti-Communist writer

Fanaticism consists of redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim.
George Santayana

3.0. The Poison of Religious Extremism in Contemporary Kenyan Society

When I went back to Kenya in September 2003, I was blown away by the number of people who were claiming Jesus Christ as their personal saviour. Many of my cousins, including former fixtures at Garden Square and other Mangelepa, Super Mazembe, Les Kinois, Simba wa Nyika haunts in the seventies and early eighties had now embraced the straight and narrow path. Some of my closest friends- including a couple of former political prisoners had abandoned their godless communist ways to become strict church goers who often fasted for seven days and considered themselves as wavering in spirit if they did not attend church five or six days a week(and I am not counting drinking in the lunch time sermons in assorted open air spaces in Nairobi and other urban areas). As we speak, my Born Again fiancée is praying daily for my own soul and trying to convince me each day we speak on the phone that I should purchase the Christian holy book- for she is convinced that despite my Communist convictions, according to her, Onyango Oloo is one, in the very near future, destined to become one of Kenya's most powerful Christian preachers...

I see nothing wrong with this Christian religious revival happening all across Kenya along charismatic and evangelical lines because for the most part, the new adherents see their faith as a deeply centering, nurturing and reassuring force that guides their lives, bringing them inner peace and assisting them in developing closer ties with their relatives, friends, neighbours, co-workers and even strangers on the street. When I fled Kenya in the late 1980s, a Born Again Dawida friend of mine is the one who helped to shelter me for several days before I sneaked off across the border to escape from the Moi-KANU repression of that era. Even today, I count Born Again Christians among my closest off-line and online friends.

I have seen a similar reawakening of faith among my \Kenyan Muslim friends, especially in Toronto. Two or three of them have dug deeper and deeper into the hadiths and other aspects of Islamic theology- without changing any of the aspects of their characters that made me bond with them over fifteen years ago. For some this has meant a radical departure from some of their erstwhile social habits-like doing the nightclub scene and the like. So, once again, I have no quibble with Muslims from our country of Kenya who are rediscovering, deepening and reconnecting with various aspects of their faith and the broader global community of Muslims.

Having underscored the above, let me point out what is disturbing to me.

In short:

A largely externally grown aberration of Christianity and Islam that is being transplanted on Kenyan soil with disastrous consequences.

To illustrate, first here is what an AMERICAN from Iowa living in Nairobi found out when he was flipping through the

Kenyan television channels some time back:

Most Americans don't know much about international development. The US is among the most developed (or you may prefer the term "industrialized") nations in the world and most Americans view the rest of the world as places not even worth visiting. This is unfortunate, in my opinion, but this doesn't mean that I don't miss some aspects of American life now that I am living in East Africa, specifically Nairobi, Kenya. For instance, even here, after a long hard day of work I feel like relaxing and watching a little television (make that "a little bit of television;" I actually like my consoles big).

Back home in Iowa, I find that while many television programs are total crap, there are some good ones. And then there are channels, like Discovery, that I love, even if I don't enjoy every single one of their programs.

So I had heard that there is a channel in Kenya that airs programs almost exclusively from the US. I was quite excited about this. After all, while I love to watch local news and programs, I also like to be able to see my favorite shows from home. When I learned what this channel really is and saw it for the first time, I was sorely disappointed.

Let me back up a bit: Kenya has a lot in common with other countries in Africa, like poverty and insecurity. However, Kenya has matured more than many other African nations, especially in terms of democracy and a free press.

Last December, Kenya elected a new president, Mwai Kibaki. Mr. Kibaki defeated the candidate supported by the ex-president, Daniel arap Moi, who finally stepped aside after nearly a quarter-century in office. The transition to the new government has been peaceful and cause for optimism, despite a souring economy and mounting concerns over terrorism and security (the terrorism concerns depress tourism, a vital part of the economy).

The defeat of the old ruling party can be contributed in large part to the fact that the population was better informed. They were also able to publicly demand change. These demands were transmitted via free, private media, including radio, print, and television. I am generally quite impressed with the quality of the media here, particularly print. The newspapers are robust and aggressive in their reporting.

Radio here is a mixed bag. While the news and music stations are generally of a high quality, too many stations sound like their signals are beamed directly from Chicago or Los Angeles. Many of the announcers put on these phony American accents and the promotions jingles and segues sound like they were produced by Rick Dees.

Television here is also a mixed bag. Some channels are quite good. Nation TV, part of Kenya's largest private media conglomerate, produces very professional programs, especially news programs. The others, particularly those owned by the state, are lacking. If you haven't seen television programs from a developing country, let me give you a general idea. Programs range from high-quality, like something you might see on C-SPAN, to medium-quality, like something produced by college TV stations, to low-quality, like the programs made by weirdos for airing on community access channels.

But the most disturbing television in Kenya comes from the good ol' US of A. It's called "The Family Channel" and sometimes "Hope Kenya" and 24/7 airs some of the most shocking Christian-oriented programs I've ever seen. At times I am so fascinated, so terrified, by what's on this channel that I'll watch it for hours.

Most of the programs on "The Family Channel" are simply videotaped sermons, usually delivered by a firey but pasty white preacher with a southern accent. Some of the preachers seem harmless enough, like the moustachioed Texas Baptist who preaches through hilarious stories. Others, like Benny Hinn, are downright dangerous in their "teachings."

The other night I was watching and came across a white-haired southern preacher whose name I don't know. He was talking about how evil homosexuality is and what an affront it is to God. He said that homosexuality is a choice, not a state, and that homosexual acts condemn those who commit them to hell. Nothing out of the ordinary, really, for the religious right.

Then he went on to defend mixed-race marriages, saying that all people are just people, regardless of skin color. "Rip these skins off our bodies," he said, "and we are all the same." I thought to myself, "Well, at least he's not a TOTAL bigot." Just as I finished this thought, the preacher went on.

"In a room you put a black baby, a yellow baby, a red baby, and a white baby. They all do baby things. They all make the same faces." He started making baby faces and then said, "If you give a toy to a black baby, he'll take the toy and do this." He then pantomimed dribbling a ball and shooting it, like a basketball into a basket.

"If you give the same toy to a red baby, he does this." He made a whooping sound and patted his mouth with his hand, creating the stereotypical Native American war cry from old movies.

Just then my power went out, turning the television off. By the time it came back on, the preacher was on to a new topic. I was very disappointed: I really want to know what the yellow baby and the white baby do with that toy. My wife, who's from Shanghai, joked with me that the yellow baby would use the toy to open up a Chinese restaurant. We really had no guess as to what the white baby would do.

Interspersed between these preachers' sermons are short, locally-produced segments that try to turn the messages just aired into cold, hard cash. There are usually 3 presenters, an older south Asian-looking and sounding man who seems to host these segments, a young portly American man with a shaved head who reads off lists of recently "saved" individuals (Kenyans), and an African woman (who sounds Kenyan) who does commentary.

With so many televangelistic broadcasts shown on the Family Channel, do the local donations get split amongst the preachers, or do they simply go into the coffers of whatever (presumably American) entity owns the Family Channel? I wonder because at the heart of these messages is some foul intent. The only question is whether the intent is simply to enrich the charlatan preachers, or if they have something more sinister in mind?

Because in many respects, these preachers aren't much different than guys like Ayatollah Khomeini and Osama Bin Laden. We've started to see this already, with right-wing Christian terrorists killing abortion-performing doctors, blowing up gay night clubs, and the like. With the ever-expanding audience to which these dangerous men have access, the number of violent incidents is bound to multiply.

As a rule, I think religion can be a good thing. It can offer people a firm footing while navigating a life that is unpredictable and trying. Mainstream religions and their preachers offer people comfort and sound advice when they need it, as well as a forum for exercising the natural human need for spirituality. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people who take advantage of this need to create wealth and power for themselves. While the United States is busy fighting the war against terror, mostly in the Muslim world, I think we need to start looking very carefully at the terrorists' breeding ground in our own backyard.

I don't mean to be alarmist, but a world bombarded with messages of intolerance and religious absotism can only become a more dangerous place.

And all I really wanted to do was to find reruns of "Friends" on Kenyan TV.


I have written elsewhere about the noxious nexus between the Christian Right and the Bush Administration. For more information about the 700 Club,

Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and the Christian Coalition
, please click here.

Nowhere has the creepy agenda of the Religious Right in Kenya been more apparent than on the question of abortion, choice and reproductive rights in general. Here is what I had to say about the fascist agenda of Christian religious right on this subject. For good measure, I did explore the stance of Muslims regarding the sensitive issue of abortion in an essay that you can access via this link. A short story called The Killer that I composed over a year ago leaves very little room for ambiguity about what I think of religious fundamentalists and a woman's right to reproductive choice. Around the same time, I sent Attorney General Amos Wako an Open Letter wondering whether NARC had become a Taliban regime in East Africa following the arraignement on murder charges of Dr. John Nyamu and two Kenyan nurses.

On the same tip, my views on the Scott Peterson Case and its application to the Kenyan context also illustrate what I felt and still feel to be dangerous and odious agenda of the Pro-Death Movement in Kenya. When a court of law in Nairobi recently acquitted Dr. Nyamu and his co-accused I found that to be a very gratifying victory indeed for our national sanity,democracy, reproductive rights and the need to keep laws of Kenya from falling within the ghoulish clutches of the far right Christian and other religious fundamentalists in our country.

And this brings me to the extremists who are causing havoc within the Muslim communities in Mombasa, Lamu, Malindi, Nairobi,Garissa, Mandera, Wajir,Isiolo, Nyeri, Mumias, Kendu Bay, Kisumu, Nakuru, Eldoret and elsewhere in Kenya. Like I said earlier, some of the things I have heard from concerned MUSLIMS about what some extremists are doing in the name of Islam is quite disturbing.

Let me go on the record as being TOTALLY OPPOSED to such extremist tendencies because I believe these actions will end up not only dividing the Muslim community in Kenya, but play right into the hands of the enemies of Islam in Kenya.

Did you know that there are some people in Kenya, calling themselves "Muslims" who are urging their fellow Muslims NOT to watch television, not to listen to popular music? The same people have castigated those Muslims who persist in celebrating Maulidi-Prophet Mohamad's birthday; they have denounced those Muslims who conduct Khitma prayers following the death of loved ones and have generally tried to campaign for a ban on traditional WEDDINGS and other cultural activities that they feel is either "ushirikina" or "distortions" of the Islamic faith. These sectarian elements find themselves completely out of sync with teachings of mainstream Islam and totally at variance with the long cherished tolerant traditions of Islam in the Kenyan context.

My sources(who are all serious Kenyan Muslims by the way) tell me that these 21st Century Kenyan Talibans are largely financed by Wahabbists in Saudi Arabia or Shia backers in Iran. Money from these two resource rich Middle Eastern states has already "been poured" via various philanthropic outlets all over Kenya and frequently the communities where these sectarians are preaching their brand of Islam find themselves held hostage because of the generous donations from the outside and the sheer bullying of the local lieutenants of these sectarian tendencies.

Very few Muslims in Kenya or the Kenyan Muslim communities in North America, Europe and the Middle East dare to speak out openly against these EXTREMIST elements who are busy hijacking the Islamic institutions in Kenya for fear of being branded anti-Muslim.

It is time for the climate of fear and the conspiracy of silence to be broken. I am urging my Muslim brothers and sisters to openly debate these extremist tendencies and come up with Muslim solutions made in Kenya before it is too late.

Why do I say this?

American imperialism has identified Muslims as their principal ideological enemy and is busy using all the propaganda tools at its disposal to discredit, demonize and malign Islam. We know that the NARC government in Kenya has played into the American frenzied war on terrorism agenda to harass, brutalize and incarcerate INNOCENT Kenyan Muslims since Kibaki came to power in 2002.

It is therefore incumbent upon the Kenyan Muslim community to CONFRONT HEAD ON those people who have taken it upon themselves to IMPOSE a version of Islam that is NOT supported by a close reading of the Koran, the Hadith and other Muslim theological texts.
I will come back to this shortly...

4.0. What is Religious Fundamentalism?

An American woman called

Elfriede Harth said the following(concerning the CHRISTIAN variety):
"Religious fundamentalism is the refusal of secular policy making. While a ‘quietist’ type of such refusal refuses secular politics by turning away from the (evil and Godless) public scene, ‘active’ fundamentalism aims at shaping ‘politics’. It is a religious occupation of political space. Both forms are a symptom for a crisis of democratic communication. Religious language, theological categories and concepts are used to define politics: faith and unfaith, orthodoxy and heresy. Political opponents are marginalized and repressed as dissidents. ‘Active’ fundamentalism is a modern intent to solve at any costs (though not necessarily through violence) the ambivalences of modernity. To do so, fundamentalism uses means of modern policymaking, namely: 1) the shaping of public opinion and 2) social engineering. Sometimes religious fundamentalism even aims at transforming a society in a revolutionary way...Fundamentalism appeared in the USA in the first quarter of the 19th century among Protestants. The mere concept of ‘fundamentalism’ was forged by those considering themselves as returning to the fundaments of Christian faith. In their eyes, these fundaments of Christian faith had been lost over time. Society and ‘the World’ were considered corrupt, evil and godless: a threat for salvation. The Bible became in an extreme way the centre of life and was taken literally.

Characteristics of American Christian right

Fundamentalists search for de-institutionalisation. They have a critical attitude towards of all forms of ‘establishments’, which they consider to be corrupted and infected by the forces of evil, which eventually are incarnated in the ‘cosmopolitan Jew’, the strongest symbol for rootless individualism. Fundamentalists have a profound mistrust or even aversion to the traditional Churches and religious denominations, the State, the UN system, the Federal Reserve System, the CIA, the FBI, the Military-Industrial Complex, the Universities, traditional media, etc..

Fundamentalists perceive reality in Manichean terms and have a preference for conspiracy theories. Events are conceptualised in terms of good and evil, black and white. They personify structural realities and interpret them as the result of the will of demoniac forces conspiring to combat Christian America and corrupt and dominate the world. Manicheistic world-views have a negative impact on women as gender relations are shaped according to a system of irreconcilable antagonisms, one of its poles (the ‘female’) being always the negative, valueless, deficient one.

A profound conviction of American fundamentalists is that they have been chosen to accomplish a specific historical mission (missionarism) and that their nation, America, has a special role to play in God’s salvation plan. They are super-patriots and see themselves as incarnating the ‘real’ American identity. The stress of the group over the individual tends to a denial of human rights. Women’s only or at least main function in this type of setting is the responsibility to reproduce (biologically and ideologically) the group.

A fundamentalist is not born as such, but he once makes a voluntary option to assume his ‘prophetic’ role. By conversion a person is re-born as a ‘real’ Christian. This is an individual, voluntary act that each individual decides upon and bears the responsibility for.

Christian fundamentalists in the USA are anti-intellectualists and anti-rationalists. An emotional and personal experience of God is at the core of their religiosity. Although mostly very keen about using modern technology, scepticism, relativism, and a critical questioning of all standpoints, including their own one, are rejected.

Fundamentalists have a profoundly patriarchal worldview. They believe in the One, the only human legitimate model. And this one is white, male, adult, heterosexual, and healthy, has a good job, is economically successful and is protestant. All other forms of human condition are considered deviances from the One. Those who do not meet all these criteria are by definition inferior beings, the more inferior the less of these criteria are met. Racism, sexism and antifeminism are consequently further characteristics of fundamentalists.

At present there are two main types of active Christian fundamentalists in the US: the televangelists and the Christian militia."


An Iranian Feminist,

Ziba Mir-Hosseini, had the following to say about Islamic Fundamentalism in her country:

"First, let me draw attention to a neglected aspect of Iranian women’s engagement with Islamic fundamentalism. It was not only the women active in socialist organizations who felt betrayed by their male colleagues; women from all walks of life felt a similar sense of betrayal and confusion. This was something that I personally came to experience when I lived in Iran from 1980 to 1984, and then documented in my subsequent research on family courts. Women felt that the very men they loved - their fathers, brothers and husbands - had tacitly colluded with the state in depriving them of what they considered to be their rights. What made the matter more painful for believing women activists was that religion gave these men the authority and legitimacy to do this. It was then that the seeds of a new dissent were planted, which contributed to the emergence of a reformist movement over two decades later after the unexpected victory of Khatami in the 1997 presidential elections. Women’s votes played a major part in bringing the reformist government of Khatami into office. Though the expected reforms have failed to materialize, the struggle for them continues.

Second, I suggest that the undemocratic and polarised political culture of Iran of the 1970s, together with the populist character of the 1979 Revolution, made the dominance of the ‘fundamentalist’ agenda espoused by the Islamist revolutionaries inevitable. Two elements that could have contained or moderated the Islamists’ notion of gender rights and relations were absent from the revolutionary discourse. There was no indigenous feminist discourse around which women could rally and the defence of women’s rights was not a priority for the various secularist groups who took part in the Revolution. The fact that both these elements were missing - in different ways – was a legacy of both the skewed pattern of modernization that had been espoused by the Pahlavi regime since the 1930s and of the appropriation of ‘feminism’ by the state in the 1960s. By the 1970s, most political activists - whether Islamic or secular – perceived ‘feminism’ and the ‘defence of women’s rights’ as part of the bourgeois project of the Pahlavis and as Western imports that should be resisted. When the Revolution happened, there was little in its political discourse and culture that could challenge and contain the populist agenda of the Islamists."


And here is what a Palestinian woman,Nahda Younis Shehada, has to say about the rise of fundamentalism in her society:

"In Palestine, an examination of the main nationalist movement (Fatah, the ruling party of the PLO and consequently of the Palestinian Authority) and the main Islamist movement (Hamas) shows the blurred boundaries between the two. One explanation for their similarities is that the leadership of both movements comes from the same class background. Sharabi (1988) writes that the similarity between the two discourses is due to the petty bourgeois origin of the two political movements. Mishal and Sela (2000:48) shed more light on the commonality between Fatah and Hamas as two political movements deriving their support from a Palestinian majority that does not have a strong political affiliation and tends to be associated with the Islamic Arab tradition. Thus, the public perception of Hamas and Fatah as being complementary rather than competitive asserts the fact that the social boundaries that are supposed to clarify the differences between the two are rather fluid and flexible.

But what is missing in Mishal and Seha’s argument is the fact that political frontiers are conditioned by the specific context of their creation and development; they are subject to time, place and historical circumstances; the power balance between the two parties as they shift their strategies; who is in power and who is in the opposition.

Fatah’s discourse is more flexible than that of Hamas despite the fact that it was created by Muslim Brotherhood members (one of whom was Yasser Arafat). The reason for this is that the leadership of the PLO has been created in the 1960s’ context when Arab nationalism was influential in directing PLO discourse (particularly Nasserism) and the fact that even the most conservative PLO members have been inoculated by the secular inspiration of Marxist PLO members, which acts as a moderating influence. Being away from the daily confrontation with the occupation, and thus liberated from countering the practical and strategic social questions in the occupied territories; the experience of being in Lebanon for a long time (1971-1982) and thus inevitably inclined by its relative ‘socially opened-culture’, all these elements constitute reasons for the moderate discourse of the PLO."


In December 2002, a Nigerian Muslim Scholar, Feminist and Activist,

Dr Ayesha Imam, came to Montreal, Quebec to receive the John Humphrey Human Rights Award.

Here is what she had to say in her acceptance speech.

By the way, there are OTHER KINDS of religious fundamentalism.

Here is a link to an article about Hindu fundamentalism.

And over here you will find an article in the liberal-left leaning US magazine the Nation talking about Jewish fundamentalism.

5.0. What Can, Rather What SHOULD Kenyans Do About Religious Extremism?

I have a very simple answer to give to my Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, African Traditionalist and other religious compatriots, friends and colleagues:

Speak Up! Do Not Be Afraid to Confront the REACTIONARY agenda of ALL Religious Extremists in Kenya if you believe in democracy, justice, equality, peace, national harmony, social progress and maendeleo in general.

Enuff Sed.

I am out of here...

Onyango Oloo


Politics and Current Affairs
Topic: Against Christian & Muslim Extremists!
Message posted by Onyango Oloo on 25/06/2005 at 11:43pm - IP Logged

Message posted by babochka on 26/06/2005 at 1:26am - IP Logged

Gold Member

908 Posts

Quote: Originally posted by Onyango Oloo on 25/06/2005
....I grew up as a Christian and have too many connections with sincere Christians to "hate" Christianity-.....was Born Again, so is my fiancee

Congrats Oloo on the engagement.

Her being who you describe her to be and you not necessarily claiming to be the same means you are not getting 'any'.

Pliz advice on how you cope.
It might help many here to wait till marriage.

Message posted by Onyango Oloo on 26/06/2005 at 2:56am - IP Logged

Onyango Oloo
Gold Member

903 Posts

to babochka:

could you please STICK TO THE TOPIC?

keep away from irrelevant personal questions. you do not know me, and i certainly do not know who you are, ok?


Message posted by aeichener on 26/06/2005 at 3:41pm - IP Logged

Platinum Member

2524 Posts

As frequent (I would write: as wont), a truly excellent and rich article by OO. I especially appreciate the copious and convenient links to previous articles (just recently, I needed a reference to the Scott Peterson case).

While I happen to be a Christian (of Roman-Catholic persuasion), I feel even stronger than OO about the extremist scum and flotsam that presently pervades and perverts Kenyan society in the name of religion. And indeed, this is true for Christians and Muslimin alike; in both denominations, the cowardly majority dares not speak out strongly enough against the creeps. Coming back to Kenya and witness what abominations thrive there under the cloak of "christianity" might be enough to turn atheist *sigh*.

I think that since 1963, not a single good thing has been accomplished by organized home-brewed christianity (organized, as opposed to individual piety and to millions of good and charitable deeds, of Christians and Muslimin); I can only see deterrent negative developments. The deeply dishonest abortion debate (fuelled by all those Christian anti-women, pro-death creeps) seems to be just an indicator of the general climate.

Bigotry, intolerance and hypocrisy rule, and even our muslim brethren - for a long time standing out within the umma for their tolerance and humanity - are now endangered by this hydra. How sad !


Message posted by babochka on 27/06/2005 at 10:36am - IP Logged

Gold Member

908 Posts

Quote: Originally posted by Onyango Oloo on 26/06/2005
to babochka:

could you please STICK TO THE TOPIC?

keep away from irrelevant personal questions. you do not know me, and i certainly do not know who you are, ok?



Ok! (was just hoping for some advice)

Message posted by donworry on 27/06/2005 at 1:00pm - IP Logged

Gold Member

812 Posts

May I start by thanking Bw Onyango for introducing a very important topic. I waited a while before coming in hoping that perhaps we could get a view from a "right wing/conservative religious type" just for balance but no such luck. Alex, I agree with your views lakini I must take both you and Onyango to task straight away.

I would like to humbly suggest that both of you have only gone half way in your quest for a solution to this problem. I for one find it difficult to understand how and why, in the 21stC we still allow organised religion in our constitutions.

By now most people agree that whilst all religions preach a message of peace, religious differences are used as the primary cause of conflict in many parts of the globe. It surely does not escape you that following on from the evil bush's invasion and occupation of a soverign state, the new conflict now, the so called insurgency appears to be orchestrated by Sunnis against the Shia. Their suicide bombers will bomb, maim and kill innocent Iraquis in the name of God, The most couldn't make this up..

Which perennial conflict does not involve religion in some way? The Holy land, Kashmir, Sudan...the Balkans, Chechnya, Tibet the list is endless.

Religious fundamentalism is a cancer that exists and thrives in all countries, including the so called democracies of USA, India and dare I say it, Ulster. Bush and others here are steadily polarising the world into "us and them" spheres. Can any one here tell me the difference between Bush and Osama? The Only thing that any progressive Government could do is to Ban Public Worship and to ensure equal status to all religions by reducing the influence of the Bishops, Kadhi's, Rabbis,etc, etc amongst the general population.

Like many people I was brought up in church ways. I love the Sunday services especially the singing and I hate to imagine weddings or funerals without all the religious trimmings. Like you guys I have no beef with Dini except that unfortunately, most of the major ones have this zero tolerance thing that precludes all other faiths. To Muslims all others are heathens and so too to christians. An impossible situation for modern democratic societies. The worst hypocrites pretend that there can be such a thing as religious tolerance. A serious contradiction in terms.

I too come from that Cowardly Majority, Alex which is too scared to speak out Openly and ask for the State to Ban Organised Religion in order to kill the fundamental beast.

I'm a believer.

Message posted by tupambao on 27/06/2005 at 1:55pm - IP Logged

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Neutral Zone
134 Posts

I do not think that banning organised religion will do any good. Infact I think it will play into the hands of the fundamentalists. Onyango Oloo did not mention the Roman Catholics and I guess its because at the moment they are one of the most moderate religious institutions around. You might argue with me about this but once you realise that the Popes position is hardline but that he does not "force" his people to follow the teachings. He wishes it but as we all know not everyone follows it, not even the Bishops. Something to note is that the Roman Catholic church though steeped in tradition has come a long way to todays point of actually appologising to the Jews for what they did centuries ago. So the choice of Pope Bendedict XVI, who is viewed as a hardliner, did not really bother me.

Now this I cannot say of the Protestant christians, mainly those of southern USA states descent. They do preach intolerance and are becoming more ready to impose their beliefs on others with physical force. More like a religious cowboys going to new unexplored areas ready to die for God. (By the way do you know that most of the Jewish fundamentalist Settlers in the occupied regions are of american descent?). They are dangerous. So how can they be stopped? The best way is to show them the result of their actions. I know most of them will not even discuss anything but like the Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses after a while they will start seeing the point you are making...and will eventually stop any direct confrontation or proselytization.

With muslims its a bit trickier. I recommend this book to everyone dealing with this topic. Christianity had a major makeover when the Roman empire adopted it as its official religion. This paved way for ONE brand of christianity which supressed the other forms to marginalism. Consequent Ecumenical Councils brought in changes like the deity of Jesus and the unification of the Bible scriptures setting the foundations of christianity as we know it today.

The muslims have never had an Ecumenical Council. When prophet Muhammed died slam split into different factions. So what we are witnessing today is a clash between this different "fundamentalist" forces. Which of this muslim fundamentalist government is the worst...the Saudi, Iranian or the Taliban, whether Sunni, Shia or Suffi ? All the different muslim factions are fighting each other for supremacy. They are also trying to out do each other with their "purity". This leaves us in a precarious situation. I do not know how to react to this because any form of interfearence just makes you a party in this internal fight.

But one thing is for sure...the christian fundamentalists are a common enemy of all the muslim factions. The confrontation in Kenya will come soon with the new constitution and the sharia law court.

Message posted by babochka on 27/06/2005 at 6:54pm - IP Logged

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908 Posts

Quote: Originally posted by tupambao on 27/06/2005
With muslims its a bit trickier. I recommend this book to everyone dealing with this topic. Christianity had a major makeover when the Roman empire adopted it as its official religion. This paved way for ONE brand of christianity which supressed the other forms to marginalism. Consequent Ecumenical Councils brought in changes like the deity of Jesus and the unification of the Bible scriptures setting the foundations of christianity as we know it today.

The muslims have never had an Ecumenical Council. When prophet Muhammed died slam split into different factions. So what we are witnessing today is a clash between this different "fundamentalist" forces. Which of this muslim fundamentalist government is the worst...the Saudi, Iranian or the Taliban, whether Sunni, Shia or Suffi ? All the different muslim factions are fighting each other for supremacy. They are also trying to out do each other with their "purity". This leaves us in a precarious situation. I do not know how to react to this because any form of interfearence just makes you a party in this internal fight.

But one thing is for sure...the christian fundamentalists are a common enemy of all the muslim factions. The confrontation in Kenya will come soon with the new constitution and the sharia law court.

Interesting @tupambao, Id never looked at Islam that way.
I wonder if other religions like HIndi or Budhism also have a sort of "ecumenical council" or they are also scattered into dif. factions that could also fight like Islam.

Its human nature I guess, someone will always be jealous of another or will think they can do the work better, so wherein there are humans, you can be sure there is bound to be some conflict!


Kenya Democracy Project said...

Thanks for your comment. The next time I will call you by your real name, eh my deranged stalker who has been hounding me daily for the last three years. I doubt if you even bothered to read the article, because if you had, you would still be on the third paragraph, judging by the time you posted your throw away remarks.

Please grow up. You are just tiresome these days.

Onyango Oloo

john said...

700 club in kenya!!has anyone seen what pat robertson did in sierra leone with the diamond mines and supporting taylor in liberia....thats not the christianity that i was raised with...those tv channels are probably funded by these same people.if u watch them ,you find conspiracy theories abound..e.g the UN is the world goverment of revelations..911 was prophesised as a sign of the end of days...neo-colonialism in the form of religion..i wonder if muslims in kenya are as worried as i am.

john said...

As regards Iran,i fear my neo-con fiends umm friends have plans that don't mesh with the would not be in their best interests to see a successful democracy in Iran that was not US backed see ..the Shah..The problem with democracy is sometimes people we don't want get elected and in this case a conservative muslim is a scary proposition for the Bush adminisration.Don Rummy hinted that on Fox News on sunday.

ruth@israel said...

i had to study muslim calture in university. in 711 when group of muslims based chalifat in spain it was great country thanks to it have the math the way it is now and other knowleges as well. but when they became extremists-they lost all of their power. extrimism does not work good with intellegence.