Victory for Muslim students at Visa Oshwal over prayers

Muslim students at Visa Oshwal Academy in Parklands, Nairobi will go on with their afternoon prayers in school pending determination of their case.

This follows a petition filed by Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) and a parent, protesting against new policies that restrict children from conducting Islamic prayers within the school compound.

In an application, the parents of the students claimed that sometimes in May 2018, the school stopped the Muslims pupils from pray within the school compound and even stationed some teachers in classrooms to ensure compliance with the directive.

According to the parents, they tried to reach and engage the school on the matter but no agreement was reached.

“The school has recently unilaterally effected a policy through a circular dated January 12, 2019 which indirectly inhibits the Muslims from observing their afternoon prayers within school compound during lunch hours when no activity is ongoing contrary to article 32 in the Constitution,” claim the parents.

According to the parents, before the said rules were introduced, the school allowed pupils to be picked by their parents for lunch and taken back before the start of the afternoon classes.

It is during lunch break when the Muslims pupils were able to perform the prayers.

They claimed that the school had also allowed the Muslim pupils to walk over and attend Friday congregational prayers at Parklands Mosque, Nairobi.

They also claimed that following the September 2013 Westgate terrorist attack, the school stopped the picking of pupils to have lunch at their homes and the Muslim students resorted to praying within the school compound particularly in classes as there were no curricular or extra-curricular activities at the school during the lunch breaks.