Event: On Monday 18 May, 2015, 20 year old Twafiqa Dahir, a Kenyan girl who scored a B in 2012 KCSE and opted to join a madrassa before joining the University of Nairobi communicated to her relatives telling them that she had successfully joined the Islamic State in Syria.
It was clear to the family that nothing had shown in the otherwise obedient girl that she had a thought of joining the terrorist caliphate in Syria, until she joined the madrassa ‘to learn more about Islam’.
This has prompted the intelligence agencies, coupled with the outburst of Kenyans on social media, to let the security agencies leave no stone unturned in the war on terror including investigating on what goes on in the madrassa.
Salwa Abdalla, a second year University student and also 20 reportedly crossed to Syria alongside Twafiqa Dahir. Both girls are residents of Nairobi’s South C Estate.
Could the madrassa have a role in recruitment into terror?
Intelligence personnel cannot altogether dispute the fact that what goes on in madrassa in Kenya plays significantly in terrorist activities in the country and also in the overall recruitment into the terrorist groups.
A madrassa is basically an Islamic religious school but for history’s insight, many of the Taliban were educated in Saudi-financed madrassas in Pakistan that teach a particularly austere and rigid form of Islam.
In the recent past, Kenya’s fight on terror has recorded a number of issues that point towards madrasa’s and Mosque relevance in the war against terror in Kenya.
- There have been cases of terror suspects hiding in mosques. Before the Kenyan government issued an amnesty period for youths who had been radicalized into terrorism, Kenya’s top intelligence findings recorded that hundreds of youth who were trained in Somalia had sneaked back into Kenya and were hiding in mosques along the Kenyan coast.
It was for this reason that Christian leaders in Kenya urged the Muslim leaders to smoke out from their midst those who are radicalizing youth in mosques and madrassas.
- Anti-Terror Police Unit finding ammunition in the mosques
- Rigid, harsh, inflexible, unfeeling teachings that more often than not amount to some aspect of giving away one’s life in defense of Islam.
The results that Kenya has always had are attacks that are preceded by suicide bombers by attackers who care less about the value of life.
Need for the Kenyan authorities to monitor what goes on in the madrassas is dire for security purposes.
A record of learners in the madrassas should be kept and effectively monitored to ensure that they do not end up graduating in one of the terrorist groups across the world.