Muslims refused to bow to fear and defended the Christians against imminent death in the latest Kenya terrorist attack by Al-Shabaab militants in the North Eastern region of country.
On 21st December 2015, armed Shabaab militants ambushed a bus, carrying over a hundred passengers in Mandera, Kenya. They ordered the passengers out of the bus and told the Muslims to separate themselves from the Christians, but passengers reportedly told the attackers that they were all Muslims, and dared them to either kill them all or leave them all alone.
The Al-Shabaab terrorist group has in previous attacks separated people of different faiths and gone ahead to kill the non-Muslims. Some of the incidents in which this has happened are the Westgate shopping mall attack in 2013, the Mandera massacre in November 2014, the attack on quarry workers in Mandera in December 2014 and the attack on Garissa University students in April 2015.
However, this time, the Muslim passengers took a stand to prove that indeed We Are One. Some of the non-Muslims were advised to hide under the seats and others asked to mingle with Muslims. Muslim women reportedly gave hijabs to the non-Muslim women in the bus in order to protect them from the terrorists.
Kenyan cabinet secretary for Internal Security and Coordination of National Government, Joseph Nkaissery, applauded the Muslim passengers for rejecting such divisive attempts.
‘We are not separated by religion’
In the Monday attack, the gunmen ordered Muslim passengers to come out of the bus and separate themselves from the Christians.
There were more than 100 passengers on board.
The Muslim passengers refused.
They gave the Christian women their hijabs and helped others hide behind bags in the bus, passenger Abdiqafar Teno told CNN.
“They told them, ‘If you want to kill us, then kill us. There are no Christians here,” he said.
A Christian man who tried to run away was captured and shot dead, Teno said. The driver of a truck, which was trailing the bus, was also killed.
The gunmen left, but warned they would return.
Nkaissery, the interior cabinet secretary, told reporters security forces were in “hot pursuit of the criminals.”
Then he commended the actions of the Muslim passengers.
“We are all Kenyans, we are not separated by religion,” he said. “We are one people as a nation. And this is a very good message from my brothers and sisters from the Muslim community.”