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US Attacks: Kenyans Urge Restraint - 2001-09-14

In Kenya, prayer services have been held to remember victims of the terrorist attacks in the United States. All the speakers emphasized the need for the United States to show restraint toward its attackers.

Bishops, archbishops, ministers, government representatives and hundreds of other Kenyans gathered for the inter-faith remembrance ceremony in Nairobi's Uhuru Park.

The service began with a moment of silence for the thousands of American "brothers and sisters" who lost their lives Tuesday.

For many Kenyans, the attacks in New York and Washington brought back memories of the bombing three years ago of the U.S. embassy in Nairobi. More than 200 people died in that attack.

One of those attending Friday's prayer service was buried under rubble from the embassy bombing for one week before he was rescued.

Another survivor at the service was Douglas Siddialo, who was blinded in the embassy blast. In his remarks at the ceremony, he said Kenyans were shocked and saddened by the evil acts in New York and Washington. But he implored U.S. leaders not to respond with violence. "I kindly request his excellency President George W. Bush to practice patience," Mr. Siddialo said, "restraint and care and not retaliation because revenge will only [lead to more disasters]. In the 21st century, what the world needs is peace, love, security and prosperity, not war."

The chairman of Nairobi Stock Exchange, Bethwell Kiplagat, also spoke at the ceremony. Mr. Kiplagat said it is important that all Muslims are not blamed for Tuesday's attacks. "The other thing we need to keep in mind is not to condemn the whole Muslim world or all the Arab world because I think we will be making a terrible mistake," he said. "Let us look for the culprit and go for that. [We should not] isolate or condemn a whole people and a whole religion [for what these terrorists] have done. These are twisted minds that have done such a thing."

Mr. Kiplagat says the best response to the tragedy in the United States would be for the international community to double its efforts to find peaceful ways to end conflict and injustice.