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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 November 2007, 16:47 GMT
Kenyan Muslims deny Sharia claims
Kenyan Muslims pray at a mosque in Mombasa
Muslims are considered a vital voting block
Kenyan Muslim leaders have dismissed as propaganda allegations that an opposition party promised to introduce Sharia for Muslims if it won elections.

The National Muslim Leaders Forum said its deal with the Orange Democratic Movement was to end the current discrimination against Muslims.

Christian leaders have been calling for the pact to be made public to end angry speculation ahead of December's polls.

Roughly one-third of Kenya's population of 34 million is Muslim.

Recent opinion polls show 45% of those interviewed support ODM's Raila Odinga compared to 43% who favour President Mwai Kibaki, who is running on a Party of National Unity ticket.

Rendition probe

Muslim leaders decided to make the pact public after a document circulated on the internet claimed that Mr Odinga's ODM had pledged to introduce Sharia in parts of the country where Muslims are in the majority.

Raila Odinga (front row with hat)  at the ODM 2007 election campaign launch
The ODM is hoping Mr Odinga can hold on to his poll lead

"There was a fear that Muslims will force their faith on other people, Islam does not allow suppression of other religions and we will be the last to advocate for this," said Abdullahi Abdi of the National Muslim Leaders Forum.

Instead the memorandum of understanding, signed in August, states that Mr Odinga has pledged to defend Muslims against harassment and victimisation by state security forces who claim to be fighting terrorism.

If the ODM leader wins, he promises to set up a commission to investigate renditions of Muslims to Somalia, Ethiopia and the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay on the island of Cuba.

The document also commits Mr Odinga to initiate policies to redress the present marginalisation of Muslims living in the Coast and North-East provinces.



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