Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops Sued for Canceling Rental Contract of Muslim-Run Restaurant

Cardinal John Njue, the Catholic Archbishop of Nairobi. A Nairobi restaurant is seeking more than Sh88 million as compensation from Catholic bishops for stopping a six-year business deal to rent space at Waumini House in Westlands, Nairobi. PHOTO/SALATON NJAU
Cardinal John Njue, the Catholic Archbishop of Nairobi. A Nairobi restaurant is seeking more than Sh88 million as compensation from Catholic bishops for stopping a six-year business deal to rent space at Waumini House in Westlands, Nairobi. PHOTO/SALATON NJAU

The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops is facing a lawsuit over the cancellation of a rental contract for a restaurant operated by a Somali Muslim.

Al-Yusra Restaurant Ltd. had signed a six-year lease starting in 2013 to operate a restaurant in a section of Waumini House where the bishops’ conference is based. Baakai Maalim, a Somali Muslim, is a director for the company.

A lawyer for the bishops said the lease was signed without written consent and knowledge of the bishops.
Waumini House is about one kilometer from the Westgate Shopping Mall, where a terrorist attack in September 2013 left 67 people dead.

That attack and others blamed on the Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab have heightened fear among Christian leaders and increased suspicion between Christians and Muslims.

“We stopped the lease for security reasons,” said Bishop Martin Kivuva of Machakos. “The restaurant would have increased human traffic within the building and that can be a danger even to other businesses here.”

But Rahma Jillo, the restaurant’s lawyer, claims the tenant was rejected because he is Somali and a Muslim. She accused the church of using tactics informed by discrimination and intolerance.

“This is not only discriminatory, but highly objectionable in the view of the recent past screening of Muslim Somalis,” said Jillo, in a letter quoted in The Star newspaper.

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SOURCE: Religion News Service
Fredrick Nzwili

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