Helping detained Somali refugees in Kenya’s Kasarani concentration camp to observe Ramadan, Kenya Muslims have launched a campaign to offer ifter for the helpless refugees during the holy fasting month.
“We have been able to supply food for approximately 50 people every day. This includes suhur for the fasting Muslims and will continue through the holy month InshaAllah,” Najda Khan, a human rights activist and the founder of Kasarani iftar campaign, told Somali Current on Monday, July 7.
“We have furnished women with a clean set of clothes, sanitary towels. Many require basic medication e.g. pain killers, there’s an asthmatic detainee requires a pump, the children require cough syrup etc.”
Detained for months in Kasarani camp, which is located in the capital Nairobi, hundreds of Muslim Somali refugees are suffering from being forsaken and denied their legal rights.
Titled #Kasaraniiftar, the Ramadan campaign aims to expose the ordeal of the Somali detainees in the concentration camp.
Organizers of the iftar campaign have urged Kenyan Muslims to donate for the food drive that is being hampered by the security forces.
“Muslims make up a substantial percentage of the population in Kenya and they are able to raise millions especially during holy month of Ramadan to provide iftar to our detained brothers and sisters in Kasarani,” Khan said.
Since last April, at least 4,000 Somali refugees have been detained in Kasarani camp. About 300 of them were deported to Somalia “during Eastleigh security operation by Kenyan security forces”.
In Ramadan, adult Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
The sick and those traveling are exempt from fasting especially if it poses health risks.
Around the globe, Muslims observe Ramadan with a set of traditional rituals including family gathering at iftar, religious lessons, special evening prayer and helping the poor.
Families of the detainees have been complaining of the lack of contact and updates from the Somali embassy in Kenya over the situation of the refugees.
The Somali embassy was also accused of not “cooperating” with relatives and the Kenyan government to get the detainees freed.
“Why are people with nationalities sitting in cells for months, don’t they have embassies to fight for their rights,” Khan told Dalsan radio.
“Complaints from detainees’ families are that there is no enough support from the respective governments.”
Playing down fierce criticism for overlooking the issue, the Somali ambassador in Kenya Mohamed Ali Nur said that: “the embassy has secured the release of 25 Somali refugees from different prison centers including Kasarani”.
Pressing to free the Somali detainees, the iftar campaign organizers have called on Muslims to boycott the iftar that is will hosted by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in protest against the detention.
“Muslims are suffering and our leaders are not speaking out, their attendance of this iftar is a clear indication of their acceptance of our suffering. #boycottstatehouseiftar,” Khan said.
Kenya Muslims have been sensing eradication of their rights after their country was involved in the so-called war on terrorism in East Africa.
Supported by UK and US, Kenya’s anti-terror police have been accused of targeting innocent Muslims with arbitrary arrests and disappearances. ONISLAM