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Kenyan ‘no’ to abortion and Sharia law: The Church of England Newspaper, April 1, 2010 p 8. April 11, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Abortion/Euthanasia/Biotechnology, Anglican Church of Kenya, Church of England Newspaper, Islam.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Kenya’s church leaders have warned that any accommodation of Sharia law or abortion in the nation’s proposed constitution will lead to its rejection by the nation’s Christians at the ballot box.

On March 18 the National Council of Churches of Kenya, the Anglican Church of Kenya, the Roman Catholic Bishops’ Conference, and other church groups released a statement saying that carving out a place for Sharia law and Kadhi Courts for Muslims within the judicial system was unacceptable.

The constitutional reform process had “consistently ignored the views of the Christian Community in Kenya” in preparing the new national charter, they said, noting that such a tactic would ensure the “draft is rejected” when put to a national referendum.

The church leader’s objections centered round Islam and abortion. The first draft of the constitution had contained two clauses: “that state and religion shall be separate,” and “that the state shall treat all religions equally.” This had been replaced by the clause “there shall be no state religion.”

Such an amendment was acceptable, provided the other two clauses were added back into the constitution. They also objected to Article 24(4) which would exempt Muslims from the protections of the Bill of Rights.

“The Church believes that no person should be denied or exempted from the provisions of the Bill of Rights whatsoever,” they said. Exempting Muslims from the protections of the Bill of Rights and giving them their own system of government-funded Khadhi Courts that were governed by Sharia law was “unacceptable.”

“If the Proposed Constitution shall contain any reference to Kadhis Courts, we shall reject the draft in total,” they warned.

“Providing for Kadhis Courts alone in a multi-religious society is a recipe for chaos, is repugnant to justice,” they said. However “in the interest of justice for all Kenyans and in consideration of the need for Kenya to get a new constitution,” Christians would agree to giving “religious courts” jurisdiction over “personal status, marriage, divorce and inheritance” when all parties to the dispute agreed to submit to their private arbitration.

Church leaders also asked that the constitution plainly state that abortion, capital punishment and euthanasia be outlawed. Speaking to the press on March 24, Cardinal John Njue has said that Christians will continue to lobby the government on these three issues.

The cardinal said this during an ecumenical meeting also attended by members of parliament at a Nairobi hotel on Wednesday March 24, 2010.

The “fight against abortion is the fight for family,” the cardinal said.

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