Pope Francis says non-violence is a style of politics for peace – not passivity but active engagement.
Eventually good theological and non-violent teaching alone will change minds, hearts and systems and bring about the change that Kenyan youth yearn for.
Terrorism has not just brought death, destruction and division to Kenya; it has also changed the way we work, recreate and even worship. Terror has also produced an opposing narrative or response that we now refer to as CVE or countering violent extremism. The Government has its own national strategy on CVE and many counties have also crafted their own plans that include civil society and religious organisations as well as the state security machinery.
This is a very encouraging move. Yet how much effort is made to change the minds of young people and to give them sound religious teaching and alternative non-violent methods to express their alienation in society?
Whenever there is a religious terror attack in Berlin, Istanbul, Wajir or wherever, we are usually told that the suicide bomber or assassin shouted “Allahu Akbar (God is Great)” as he committed his heinous act.
Most consider such terrorists as religious fanatics. Truth, however, is that such people are only half-believers. They believe that they have to defend God and act on his behalf since he appears too weak to take care of his own interests. They imagine that God is under threat and that the world could become a godless one if they don’t rid it of all profanities.
Put another way, they suggest that God is not quite up to the task that he set for himself and they have to step in. Such is the blasphemy of the religious terrorist. They want to save God, forgetting of course that it is God who saves people.