Muslim leaders have condemned Friday’s brawl at Nairobi’s Jamia mosque over front row space during prayers which left an unknown number of worshipers hospitalized from injuries.

The leadership of Jamia Mosque confirmed the incident, reporting that certain worshipers involved in the scuffle were subsequently taken into police custody.

The confrontation escalated into physical altercations among congregants.

Former Mandera Senator Billow Kerrow, a committee member of the mosque, said the brawl saw the destruction of some mosque equipment including cameras.

“Yesterday (evening) we witnessed a terrible incident of violence in this mosque (Jamia). This is a sad and shameful behavior because a mosque is a sacred place meant for worship and not a place of violence,” Kerrow said.

The Jamia executive committee member said that the incident casts the mosque in a bad light and advised worshippers against resorting to violence.

He emphasized that anyone who feels aggrieved should seek peaceful dispute resolution mechanisms, including reporting issues to the mosque’s leadership for appropriate action.

Going forward, the mosque warned that anyone who engages in violence in the mosque and within its premises will be arrested.

Kerrow reiterated no individual will be permitted to address the congregation without prior consent from the mosque’s leadership.

To prevent the repeat of a similar incident, Kerrow said that they had instructed the mosque security not to allow worshippers to place their prayer mat on the front row except the one allowed by the mosque including that of the imams presiding over the prayers.

Jamia mosque is located on Nairobi’s Banda Street, in the Central Business District.

It is a landmark and heritage site that plays a central role to Nairobi’s large Muslim population as a location of choice for the Friday prayers.

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