Kenya (MNN) — Passengers heading to northern Kenya earlier this week knew what was coming when al-Shabaab terrorists stormed a bus, took passengers outside, and demanded Muslims and Christians separate into groups.
However, Muslim passengers defied the terrorists’ commands and refused to help them divide the group. Some of the Muslims even gave Christ-followers Islamic clothing to further protect their identities.
“The militants threatened to shoot us, but we still refused and protected our brothers and sisters,” one of the Muslim passengers told Reuters. “Finally, they gave up and left but warned that they would be back.”
Not only were the Muslims’ actions courageous, says Emily Fuentes with Open Doors USA, they were also unexpected and risky. “There have been multiple cases of this, where all the Christians are then murdered once they’re separated, and the Muslims are set free. These Muslims, choosing to put their own lives at-risk, were facing certain death by doing this.”
Persecution in Kenya
While inspiring, this account is also an encouraging sign for Kenya. Persecution is skyrocketing in the East African nation. Between 2014 and 2015, Kenya jumped 24 spots on the Open Doors World Watch List.
“It’s mainly this one group of extremists [al-Shabaab] as well as pocketed extremists in some of the rural areas that are attacking Christians for their faith,” explains Fuentes. “They are notorious for doing this [type of attack] several times: separating Muslims and Christians by those who can recite the Qur’an and those who can’t. If they can’t recite the Qur’an, they are killed.”
Many times, Fuentes explains, extremists target Christian men. “They’re trying to kill the men in the families because…the men are often the ‘breadwinners,’ and so it destroys the entire family when they kill them.”
As a result, much of Open Doors’ work in Kenya centers around the widows and orphans left behind by persecuted pastors and church leaders. See what that work involves here.
By clicking here, you can send a note of encouragement to persecuted Christians in Kenya.
“It’s a great way to let them know that people outside of Kenya know what’s going on and that Christians around the world are praying for them.”