Now wait a minute. Madrassa students spend the bulk of their time studying and memorizing the Qur’an. So according to the conventional wisdom, they’re the last people who would be interested in joining a jihad terror group, because they know well that Islam is a Religion of Peace that eschews violence. So how did they, of all people, come to misunderstand Islam so spectacularly? Or could it be that the conventional wisdom is wrong, and Islam is not a Religion of Peace? Naah — that can’t be it. To think that would be “Islamophobic.”
DETECTIVES are holding four Mombasa students and a Madrassa teacher arrested on their way to Somalia to join al Shabab. The four and Saidi Sheikh Amin, the madrassa teacher, were arrested in Baragoni 25km from Mokowe jetty in Lamu last week.
Two of the suspects are form two students from Kizingo in Mombasa. Yesterday, their school deputy principal Juma Abbassaid the two disappeared almost two weeks ago.
Abbas said they were average students and never showed any indication of extremism.
However, oolice [sic] said one of the two was among youths who were arrested when officers raided Masjid Musa (now Masjid Shuhadaa) to break up an alleged Jihad convention on February 2.
Abbas said the parents of one of the boys informed the school when he went missing. The parents said he had gone swimming in a Nyali beach but never returned home.
“We are not aware what might have prompted them to abandon studies and head to Somalia. We have not received an official statement from the parents and security agencies,” said Abbas.
Mombasa county CID boss Henry Ondiek said the case is being investigated by senior detectives and anti-terror police officers in Lamu.
“We have a team that is investigating the radicalisation in mosque, madrasas and now in schools. It’s about vulnerable youth falling prey to a nasty subset of religious ideology,” he said.
Senior anti-terror police officers investigating the case said the fourth youth arrested is believed to have undergone training in Somalia and had returned to recruit more youths to al Shabaab group.
Mombasa TSC county director of education Ibrahim Rugut said they are concerned over the rate of radicalisation in schools.
“We have issued a circular to all schools heads to be vigilant and monitor their students’ unusual behaviour. The financiers are around with huge money to recruit and train our students,”said Rugut.
He said head teachers have instructions to report extremist behaviour to education officials and security agents. Rugut said some of the signs are when students demand to grow long beards and to dye them.
Schools have also been ordered to profile all students by taking their photographs and family backgrounds.Police said students from poor background are the main targets for radicalisation.
Their families are paid monthly upkeep of more than Sh100,000 and Sh50,000.