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Fundamental Lessons from Islamists’ Garissa Massacre for Kenya and the World

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on Tuesday, 12 May 2015 in CMS-Africa

By John Harrington Ndeta,

Christians in Kenya and the world at large need to be reminded that the vast majority of Muslims all over the world are not Islamists. There is indeed a difference between the orthodox Muslims and Islamic fundamentalist who turn into terrorist groups like Al-Qaida or the now infamous al-shabab that has claimed responsibility for every terror attack in Kenya including the Garissa University college attack that left over 148 people dead. 

The primary motivation of terrorists is theological, compounded mainly by duty and reward as taught in their extremist ideologies. If terrorism is going to be dealt with at its source, Islam as a religion has to undergo radical reformation of the teaching of Islam with regard to war and violence. Without a theology to fuel it, Islamic terrorism would eventually die a natural death. Unless the militant interpretation of Islamic sources is recognized as the basic cause of Islamic terrorist activities, there is little hope of a lasting solution in dealing with Al-Shabaab, al-Qaida, Boko Haram or Isis and Houthi.

The gunmen, who killed 148 people in Kenya’s worst terrorist attack since 1998, ordered people to recite verses from the Koran at gunpoint to avoid being shot. The victims were woken up at gunpoint on the eve of Easter Holiday in the Thursday's pre-dawn attack, and Muslims and non-Muslims picked out by how they were dressed. The attacker told women they were safe but in the long run ended forcing them to swim in the pool of blood from their slain men as though they were making fun of them, playing games and apparently enjoying the killing.

Eye witness, Kenneth Luzakula, a student at the institution was standing at the back of the Christian Prayer room when two gunmen burst into the room. 'They killed all my friends. I was praying with them when we heard gun shots and I saw two guys who wore hoods and carried long guns came in. I escaped because I was standing next to the rear door, so I dashed out with one of my friends,” recalls Kenneth who escaped the gun and lives to narrate how they killed his peers whom he believes are all in heaven, because they  died worshipping God.


More than 20 of his friends were murdered in the attack. Inside the halls of residence, everyone seemed dead, but then as the rescue teams came to the scene, some students who had been hiding for hours came out - some from wardrobes, others from the ceiling, and then others who lay down with the dead, covered in blood, hidden among their friends who had been killed remerged.


Yet Christians need not lose hope. If it was possible for Saul the Pharisee, who persecuted Christians, to turn to Christ, why should we not believe that Islamists can be changed? Kenyan Christians should be much bolder in bearing witness to Jesus and committing themselves to overcome evil with good as ordered in the Bible. As disciples of Jesus, they ought to have a distinctive way of responding to injustice and seeking to change the world.


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