Religious Indoctrination or Marginalization Theory? Muslim-Christian Public Discourses and Perceptions on Religious Violence in Kenya
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AbstractThe numerous killings of non-Muslims by Muslim jihadi groups in Kenya, have fuelled ethno-religious tensions manifested in hatred and anger against the entire Muslim community. Though anti-jihadi Muslims have rightly condemned the targeting of their non-Muslim countrymen by the jihadists, the Christian leaders have not been satisfied by their counterpart's internal self- criticism. There are suspicions from Christians, even when anti-jihadi Muslims disassociate themselves from the heinous criminal acts of the jihadists, that all Muslims are the same, and posing a threat to peace in the country. In this context, there has arisen two theories of why we do have jihadist Islam in Kenya, and, for that matter, in other parts of the world. The one argument is that it is due to the social and economic marginalisation and exclusion of Muslims from the dominant and governing hegemony of the mainly Christian-affiliated parties in the country. This causes discontent and dissatisfaction among Muslims, especially among the poor and underprivileged, with the result of their radicalisation, attraction and exposure to, the jihadi groups. The other argument, and this coming from the Christian side, is that Muslims are not the only ones economically marginalized in the country. For them, one of the main factors for the radicalisation of some Muslims and their joining of jihadi groups, is the indoctrination by charismatic Muslim leaders (imams). Foregrounding the potency of both these accounts for explaining why some Muslims join the jihadi movement, as well as why we have jihadi violence (especially against Christians in Kenya), this article addresses these two theories and attempts to point to a Muslim-Christian Public Discourses and Perceptions, on Religious Violence way forward. It shall also address the issue of public rhetoric emanating from Christian religious leaders, against Muslims.