Challenges Facing Islam in Promoting National Cohesion and Integration in Kenya

International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) | Volume III, Issue II, February 2019 | ISSN 2454–6186

Challenges Facing Islam in Promoting National Cohesion and Integration in Kenya

Michael G. Mwangi, Dr. Janet N. Kassilly and Dr. Nicholas K. Ombachi

International Leadership University, Kenya

Abstract: – National cohesion and integration havebecome an area of interest at both the government and the civic levels in Kenya. This has been occasioned by high degree of social disintegration witnessed in the country especially around the electioneering periods. Islam as the second largest religion in Kenya has attempted to give its input in promoting a cohesive and integrated society. While undertaking the task, several challenges have stood on the way towards a successful contribution by the religion. The paper aimed at exploring the specific challenges that have complicated the work of Islam in the efforts. Evidence for the paper was collected using questionnaires, interview guides and focus group discussion guides. The study was largely qualitative and hence the data collected was organized into thematic areas for ease of analysis. The study found that political interference, increased radicalization, bad leadership and lack of enough resources were major barriers against the religion’s efforts for a cohesive and integrated society in Kenya. Other challenges include negative publicity and stereotypes against Islam and divisions among Muslims while approaching matters of public importance.

Key Words: cohesion and integration; challenges; Islam.


National cohesion and integration have become an area of interest at both the government and civic levels in Kenya. The interest was largely rekindled following the events of 2007/2008 Post Election Violence (PEV)which resulted into loss of lives and property. Evidently, the challenge on national cohesion and integration is both a past and a current reality in Kenya. In 2013, a survey undertaken by National Cohesion and Integration Commission found that cohesion and integration index in Kenya is just above average(KIPPRA and NCIC, 2014). The situation has not changed significantly since the study, as it was demonstrated during the electioneering period of 2017.

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