On January,15,2019, a huge blast followed by gunfire ripped through the 14 Riverside complex that is home to a number of offices as well as the dusitD2 hotel.
Al-Shabaab – the Somali based group claimed responsibility for the carnage, that left 15 people dead and several others injured.
The 14-Riverside attack is the latest following a string of violent attacks by Al-Shabaab Militia on Kenyan soil. In 2013, the group carried out an attack in the nearby Westgate Mall in Nairobi claiming 67 lives. On 2 April 2015, gunmen stormed the Garissa University College killing 148 people and injuring 79 or more.
These attacks are claimed to be carried out in the name of Islam, which has created an association between the Islamic faith and armed violence. As a result, many Muslims in Kenya are facing a lot of discrimination and hatred.
In recent weeks, it has become increasingly uncomfortable to be a Muslim.
Get into any one of your social media platforms and you will witness a number of adults bashing all Muslims and blaming every member of the religion for the terrorist crimes.
With the never-ending flow of hatred towards the Muslim community, it seems that young children are slowly picking up on the attitude towards Muslims and bully their fellow Islam classmates.
Jamal Ali Osman, a class six pupil speaks to us about the magnitude of bullying that goes on between the children.
“I remember right after the gunman’s name was released,” Ali Salim Gichunge– (The suspected terrorist in the Dusit D2 attack)
“My friends made fun of me because my name is Ali.”
Before that, my classmates often laughed at me and my other friends for having Islam names like Mohammed or Salim
Muslims are one of the most hated groups around the school. Some schoolmates laugh at our food. They say it’s not normal.
Many other students make fun of us especially during the Ramadan season because we pray differently. They mock the Islam faith and the Koran as well.
I see my sister often being bullied when she adds a hijab or a headscarf to her uniform.
After the January 15th attack, the torment started just when I walked into class.
My friends asked me what kind of belt I’m wearing and does it have any explosives.
Later on, after break time, my desk mate said that he did not want to sit next to me because he suspects that I may have planted a bomb in his desk.
Najda, a class six pupil says that the negative stereotyping and constant abuse is so cruel that some of the Islam students wish they were not Muslim.
When the terror attack happened, I remember one of the girls looked at me then turned to her friends saying, “Her kind of people kill people!”
Not many girls wanted to play with me because I wore a hijab. They said I was a refugee and sometimes, I wished I could be a Christian just so that I could make a friend.
In some estates and communities, it’s so common for other children to curse and bully Islam children.
In fact, some Islam children see it as completely normal. “You can’t expect to walk around with a hijab or a taqiyah (Muslim skull cap) without being made fun of or getting taunted by another Christian kid.”
It is a common fact that adults of the Muslim faith often face a lot of negative stereotyping every day even in the workplace. However, a lot of the time we tend to overlook the bullying that happens between children.
Fights are so much more common and the children have to deal with it without the help of adults.
Social Media is actually fueling the war!
Bullies hiding behind a screen hurl all kinds of nasty remarks to Muslims forgetting that both Christian and Islam children are also reading and are learning from this too.
It is crucial that adults are aware of this issue. The children you interact with could be bullying innocent Islam children or your child could be a victim to these nasty comments from other children.
It is important to note that most kids do not like to mention that they are being bullied. They would rather suffer in silence than admit that they are constantly taunted by kids their own age or older.
The bullying can be so intense that the young kids’ self-harm. They hate going to school, some of them are even afraid to play outside or make a friend.
They’d rather stay alone because of all the vicious insults that they have already had to endure from others their own age.
The Family Wellness Centre-Kenya is in an organization that provides counseling and therapy sessions to both children and adults. The organization is in a Unique position to be able to hear from children who may be ignored or overlooked when there are major events like terror attacks.
Take a look at the Family Wellness Centre website –
For more information on therapy and counseling sessions, Contact –
Angela Wahu – +254 724 025115
James Kimani Githongo – +254 722 715424
We live in a good time where children and teenagers can really benefit from therapy and counseling sessions.
No child should be targeted because of their race or faith. We should never allow a child to feel ashamed of who they are.
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