Peace on earth won’t magically descend from the clouds: it has to be aimed at and worked for. And it starts in the hearts of each and every one of us: “Blessed are the peacemakers.” said Jesus, “For they shall be called the children of God.”
Imagine being on a Kenyan bus on your way to Mandera to do a bit of shopping, and you’re flagged down by an ominous horde of black-bandanna-clad militants belonging to the Somali terror group al-Shabaab, an affiliate of al-Qaeda, who are basically bent on the same jihadist quest to cleanse their corner of Africa of Christians and apostates to usher in the Caliphate. They storm the bus, and order the division of the Muslim sheep from the Christian goats in order to humiliate, disgrace and kill the enemies of Allah. They usually order hostages to recite verses from the Qur’an, as they did at the Garissa University College massacre earlier this year. If they can, they’re freed. If they can’t, they’re shot.
But things don’t quite go according to divine plan on the bus. The Muslim sheep were friends with the Christian goats, and they started to bleat in harmony and share fleeces. ‘I’m Spartacus’ became ‘I’m a Christian’, and in a profoundly moving, self-sacrificial display of the brotherhood of man, the Muslims told the Islamists to shoot them all or none at all. They didn’t have to do that: they risked their lives by doing so. The mercy of the jihadist struggle is usually reserved exclusively for Muslims as each group defines them. By refusing to be split into two groups and shielding the heretic Christians, these Muslims declared themselves apostate. The Somali militants had every reason in their jihadi minds to shoot them all. They killed two, injured four, and let the rest go free.
The faith of the two who died has not been reported (by the BBC or Daily Mail). All we know is that, faced by terrorist attack and possible torture or death, the passengers on board this bus set aside any religious enmity or theological difference and bravely united in their common humanity to thwart the jihadist threat. The Islamist urge is to sacrifice the Christians and all who reject the law of Allah: the Muslim says not unless unless you sacrifice us, too. The Islamist excludes minorities and persecutes in the cause of martydrom. The Muslim does good, for Allah loves the doers of good in the brotherhood of humanity.