RealNews

AP: U.S. Tries to Win Over Kenyan Muslims

In the medieval alleys of this old stone town, U.S. soldiers are lending a hand — stitching up cuts, fixing the plumbing at a girls’ school — and watching every smile for signs of breaking ice. But in coming to a Muslim community that U.S. officials fear is al-Qaida territory, the soldiers are struggling against powerful currents. Many in Kenya’s Muslim minority are deeply suspicious of the United States, their distrust fed by TV images of violence in Iraq and the West Bank, and by preachers telling them America is bent on destroying Islam. Even the best intentions get misread. After the troops fixed the plumbing at the Lamu Girls’ Secondary School, rumors spread that they had poisoned the water. Al-Qaida operatives, Kenyans among them, have twice struck in the East African country, blowing up the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi in 1998 and attacking a coastal hotel frequented by Israelis a year ago. In June, a Kenyan allegedly belonging to al-Qaida reportedly told police of a plot to attack the new American embassy. Full Story

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