Tourist Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has landed in trouble with the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims(Supkem) over his recent remarks on the shisha ban.
According to Supkem, Balala is anti-Islamic for resisting the government’s ban on shisha.
This comes a day after Balala criticised government agencies for “frustrating” investors with the ban on the importation, manufacture, sale, and use of shisha.
According to the CS, the ban which was implemented on December 28 was rash and could be detrimental to a section of the tourism industry.
“You do your job, we will support; but you don’t wake up overnight and ban shisha or start closing clubs. The whole world has Shisha! Why are you banning it in Kenya?” Balala asked.
Supkem has demanded that Balala apologise and retract his statement or else they will organise demonstrations and advice all mosques to denounce him.
Supkem’s county chairman Ali Said accused Balala of promoting “stripping in clubs” in a “sinful” town. He said the cabinet secretary is “definitely misleading the public.
“You can’t just say that because shisha fetches money, then it is good. No. We want him to apologise.”
“Even [Devolution PS Nelson] Marwa who is not a Muslim ordered a crackdown on shisha dens. He was expected to rally behind him and ensure strip clubs are shut.”
Supkem’s Mombasa Secretary General Khalfan Ali said Balala has prioritised material wealth over health, moral, and Islamic teachings.
He said Balala’s statement punctures their fight against drug abuse.
“Smoking it encourages vigilante groups, drop-outs and crime.
“Muslim community leaders and Coast natives are so saddened by his comment that shisha provides revenue. This unexpected of him, being a national leader with Muslim face.”
The Council said it will continue its fight against clubs or hotels that sell shisha.