Muslims Shield Christians From Islamist Gunmen During Bus Attack (IMAGE)

A group of Kenyan Muslims recently risked their lives to protect their fellow Christian passengers on a bus that was ambushed by Islamist gunmen.

The attack, carried out by the al-Qaeda affiliate group, al-Shabab, on Sunday, happened near the north-eastern village of El Wak on the Somali border. The gunmen rushed the bus, ordering the Muslim passengers to separate themselves from the Christians. The Muslims refused and told the militants “to kill them together or leave them alone.”

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This was all the militants needed to hear, because they decided to leave after this brave display of unity. There were over 50 passengers on this bus, and only two were killed for trying to escape. Abdi Mohamud Abdi, one of the Muslims on the bus when militants took over, told Reuters that there had been more than 10 al-Shabab gunmen on the bus, and that they’d wanted the Muslims and Christians to organize themselves into two separate groups. Abdi said:

“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.”

Mandera governor Ali Roba said, “The locals showed a sense of patriotism and belonging to each other.”

Kenya’s North Eastern regional coordinator Mohamud Saleh said:

“The attackers tried to wave the bus down but then sprayed it with bullets when the driver refused to stop. Two people were killed and at least three people were injured in the attack. It is not yet clear who is behind the assault, but I’m not ruling out that this was a case of banditry.”

Al-Shabab has launched attacks on Christians before – in April, the group killed almost 150 people at Garissa University College – purposefully singling out Christians and shooting them. In 2014, another bus attack was led by al-Shabab, in which 28 non-Muslims traveling during the Christmas holidays were killed execution-style. It was after this attack that Kenya began to really fear al-Shabab and many buses going from Mandera were given police escorts. Unfortunately, the bus that was ambushed on Sunday was without any police protection because the bus bypassed a police roadblock.

This is just another incident that proves that the rhetoric the GOP tries so hard to instill about Muslims is the farthest thing from the truth. The true Islamic faith has nothing to do with violence, and Muslims have nothing to do with terrorism. In this case and many others like it, Muslims have acted more like Christians than the true followers of the faith. We can only hope that stories like this one will balance out the anti-Muslim hate the Republican party is spewing on a daily basis.

Featured image via Zoriah / Flickr