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Going beyond religious tolerance

2015-6:
Muslims and Christians cooperating
to defeat religiously-inspired terrorism

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There are numerous signs of inter-religious hostility, hatred, oppression and mass murder in the world -- primarily in the Middle East. There are stories of ISIS placing Iraqi and Syrian Christians in cages or coffins and burning them to death. Christians in some areas are forced to either convert to Islam, flee the country or die.

Islamic dhimmi laws are enforced in some areas. These require non-Muslims to pay jizya (extortion money) in order to stay where they and their religious ancestors have lived for two millennia. The Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial has stated that the persecution of Christians by ISIS:

"... fits the definition of ethnic cleansing."

, writing for the Gatestone Institute International Policy Council during 2015-DEC stated that an unidentified:

"... NGO report states that one Christian is slaughtered every five minutes in Iraq. ..." 1

During 2016-JAN, he discussed the terrorist group ISIS, saying:

"The Islamic State seems committed to expunging all physical traces of Christianity in areas it conquers. It has demolished dozens of ancient churches -- up to 400 churches have been destroyed during the war in Syria alone -- not to mention countless crucifixes, statues, graves, and other relics. The Islamic State has ordered the University of Mosul to burn all books written by Christians, and decreed that the names be changed of all Christian schools in Mosul and the Nineveh Plain. Some schools have been there since the 1700s.

ISIS's destruction of a 1,400-year-old monastery is nothing new. Last summer, ISIS set fire to a 1,800 year-old church in Mosul and bulldozed a 1,600-year-old monastery in Homs as a response to 'worshipping a God other than Allah'." 2

Wolf Blitzer interviewed Col. Steve Warren on CNN. Warren is the spokesperson for the U.S. military's Operation Inherent Resolve. Blitzer commented:

"Thousands [of Iraqi Christians] have been killed, hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee. There is legitimate fear ... that the long history of Christians living peacefully, [and] productively in Iraq, is coming to an end." 2

The Religion of Peace is a web site that lists terror attacks by Muslims on Christian since 2001-SEP-11. They listed seven attacks in 2015-DEC and six during 2016-JAN. 3

There is also intra-religious hostility and violence within Islam, largely between the two major traditions in that religion: Sunni and Shi'íte.

In spite of all these horrendous developments, there are a few isolated hopeful signs. There are a number of locations in Egypt, France, and Norway in recent years where Christians and Muslims are protecting each other's places of worship.

Two recent instances of cooperation against terrorists are described below.

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Map of africa with Kenya highlighted 2015-DEC-21: Terrorist attack on a bus in Kenya by Somali Muslim militants:

More than 10 Somali militants, believed to be al-Shabab terrorists, stopped a bus near the city of El Wak in Mandera County. It is in northeast Kenya close to the Somalia border.

The attack started similar to one during 2014-NOV in the same area of Kenya, that was perpetrated by al-Shabab terrorists. That time, they pulled 28 non-Muslim passengers from the bus and shot them in cold blood, leaving no survivors.

This time, they ordered the passengers to get out of the bus and form two groups: Muslims on one side and everyone else on the other. They said that the Muslim passengers would later be able to get back on the bus and would not be harmed.

But this time, things went differently. The passengers refused to be separated by religion.

Kenyan Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery told local media afterwards that the Muslim passengers on the bus:

"... sent a very important message of the unity of purpose, that we are all Kenyans and that we are not separated by religion. Everybody can profess their own religion, but we are still one country and one people." 4

Abdi Mohamud Abdi, a Muslim passenger on the bus, told Reuters. 

"We even gave some non-Muslims our religious attire to wear in the bus so that they would not be identified easily. We stuck together tightly. The militants threatened to shoot us, but we still refused and protected our brothers and sisters. Finally they gave up and left but warned that they would be back." 4

Another passenger, Abdrirahman Hussein, said:

"An extremist entered the bus and ordered everyone to get out and form two separate groups of non-Muslims and Muslims, said Hussein. One person, a non-Muslim decided to run and was shot in the back and died." 4

Ali Roba, the Mandera County governor, said:

"The locals showed a sense of patriotism and belonging to each other. [The passengers insisted that the terrorists either] kill them together or leave them alone." 5

Readers of the article in The Star newspaper posted 184 comments. 5 A few of the "on topic" comments are:

  • Mohamed Abdullahi Siraji said:

    "Cult of death knows no race or religion. So is al-Shabab. They're to be treated as common enemy of humanity."

  • Nesh said:

    "True love. This are heroes and must be recognized for their courageous act. Thanks be God."

  • Eastlie said:

    "The Somali people on that bus did a good job, protecting their follow Kenyans! All the passengers should be invited to State House and the president should honor them with medal of braveness and the medal of patriotism!

    I thank all Muslims passengers for taking a tough decision to protect our follow Kenyan brothers and sisters.

    Thank you!"

  • Wa_MMBando said:

    "... The greatest gift given to the nation, Kenyan people and -- "non-local" -- passengers on the Mandera bound bus, as the year draws to an end, was a spontaneous decision by patriotic Kenyans -- who happen to be of the Moslem faith -- to come to the immediate defense of their fellow Kenyans in the name of peace, brotherhood, citizenship, humanity, against senseless violence, and above all remaining true to their faith in the face of imminent death."

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Map of Africa which Cameroon highllighted Christians protecting Muslim mosques and Muslims protecting Christian churches in Cameroon in West Africa:

A Nigerian Muslim terrorist group has been attacking both Christians and Muslims in Nigeria -- often in their houses of worship. The group is called Boko Haram which roughly translated means "Western education is forbidden." They have also organized attacks on churches and mosques in the adjacent country. Cameroon. It is located immediately East of Nigeria. The two countries share a long border.

Issa Tchiroma Bakary, the Cameroon Minister of Communication, said on 2016-JAN-22 that since the beginning of the year, Cameroon has suffered:

"15 suicide attacks perpetrated by Boko Haram militants." 6

Mindjiyawa Bakary, governor of Cameroon’s Far North region, said:

"We have a new technique; Christians secure mosques when Muslims pray ... On Sundays when Christians are in places of worship. Muslims patrol around churches to detect any suspicious movement. [This new strategy is] "... being tested in some villages and will be extended to the whole region." 6

Felix Nkambeh Tih, writing for Anadolu Agency, said:

"Since 2013, over 1,098 civilians, 67 soldiers and three policemen have been killed in Boko Haram attacks in Cameroon’s Far North region near the Nigerian border." 7

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. , "One Christian Slaughtered Every Five Minutes. Muslim Persecution of Christians," Gatestone Institute, 2015-DEC-14, at: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/
  2. Raymond Ibrahim, "Mideast Christian Suffering, U.S. Denial," Gatestone Institute, 2016-JAN-31, at: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/
  3. "Islamic Terror on Christians," The Religion of Peace (TROP), as on 2016-FEB-02, at: http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/
  4. "Muslims protect Christians from extremists in Kenya bus attack," The Washington Post, 2015-DEC-22, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/
  5. Ismail Noor, "Muslims shield Christians from al Shabaab terrorists in Mandera," The Star, 2015-DEC-21, at: http://www.the-star.co.ke/
  6. Terry Turner, "Christians Protect Mosques on Fri., Muslims Guard Churches on Sunday," Good News Network, 2015-JAN-29, at: http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/
  7. Nkambeh Tih, "Cameroon: Christians, Muslims protect each other," 2016-JAN-22, at: http://aa.com.tr/

How you may have arrived here:

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Copyright © 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2016-FEB-02
Latest update : 2016-FEB-02
Author: B.A. Robinson

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