Kenya court rules Islamic courts are illegal

Muslims pray at a mosque in Mombasa Muslims have had their own court system since colonial rule

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Kenya's Islamic courts are illegal and discriminatory, a panel of judges has ruled.

The three judges said the Islamic "Kadhi" courts favoured Islam over other faiths, and that this was unconstitutional as Kenya was a secular country.

The issue of Islamic courts has been a contentious point in the country's new proposed constitution.

It is due to go to a referendum in August.

The Kadhi courts - set up under British colonial rule - mainly deal with matters of marriage and inheritance for Kenya's Muslim minority.

The Christian church in Kenya brought the case to court six years ago.

As part of a power-sharing deal to end deadly riots following elections in December 2007, it was agreed that a new constitution would be written.

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