Kenya honour for Muslim hero who protected Christian bus passengers

kenyaA Muslim teacher in Kenya who protected Christians on a bus after it was attacked by Islamist militants has been posthumously honoured for his bravery.

Salah Farah was shot in the attack in north-eastern Kenya in December and later died from his bullet wound.

The insurgents told the Muslims and Christians to split up but he was among Muslim passengers who refused to do so.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said he was awarding the Order Of The Grand Warrior to Mr Farah “for his act of courage”.

It is one of the country’s top honours and is awarded by the president for exemplary service to the country.

In previous attacks in the area, Somalia-based al-Shabab militants have killed Christians and spared Muslims.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE BBC NEWS 

Christian-Muslim dialogue ‘essential’ for peace: Pope in Kenya

Nairobi: Pope Francis told Christian and Muslim leaders in Kenya on Thursday that they have little choice but to engage in dialogue to guard against the “barbarous” Islamic extremist attacks that have struck Kenya recently, saying religious leaders must be “prophets of peace” in a world sown by hatred.

On his first full day in Africa, Pope Francis insisted that religion can never be used to justify violence and lamented that “all too often, young people are being radicalised in the name of religion to sow discord and fear, and to tear at the very fabric of our societies.”

He said interfaith dialogue isn’t a luxury or optional, but is simply “essential.”

Francis made the comments in a meeting with Kenyan Christian, Muslim and other faith leaders at the start of a busy day that will also see him celebrate Mass on a rain-soaked university campus and deliver a major environment speech to the UN regional headquarters in Nairobi.

Pope Francis. AP

On Friday, he heads to Uganda for the second leg of his first African pilgrimage.

Kenya, a former British colony is majority Christian, but Muslims represent about 10 per cent of the population.

In his remarks, Pope Francis referred explicitly to three recent attacks claimed by the Somalia-based al-Shabab extremist group, saying he knew well that the memories were still fresh in Kenya’s mind.

In April, the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack on a mostly Christian college in northeastern Kenya that left some 150 people dead.

A month earlier, Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for attacks in Mandera county on the Somali border in which 12 people died.

In September 2013, at least 67 people were killed in an attack by al-Shabab on the Westgate mall in Nairobi.

Al-Shabab opposes Kenya’s decision to send troops to Somalia to fight the group as part of an African Union force backing Somalia’s weak federal government.

“Here, I think of the importance of our common conviction that the God whom we seek to serve is a God of peace,” Francis said. “How important it is that we be seen as prophets of peace, peacemakers who invite others to live in peace, harmony and mutual respect.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM FIRSTPOST.COM

Niger’s Muslims and Christians join forces for peace

957069-NIGERIA-1442292319-728-640x480NIAMEY: Eight months after Muslims rioted in Niger at a cost of 10 lives and many burned churches, efforts are afoot to mend ties with the Christian minority in the west African country.

The rampage was triggered in January when radical Muslims angered by caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)in French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo killed 12 people in an assault on the magazine’s Paris offices.

In Niger, hundreds of Muslims took to the streets, clashing with police and razing 45 churches, five hotels, as well as bars and schools run by Christians. The French cultural centre in the second city, Zinder, was also set alight.

Read: Nigeria shuts down churches over noisy worship

Muslims make up about 98 percent of the 17 million population in the deeply poor, landlocked nation south of the Sahara. Until the riots, they lived in peace with the small Christian minority.

However, the threat of armed militant activity is present both in the north, where Niger is prey to al Qaeda-linked groups in the desert, and the south, which has been attacked by Boko Haram fundamentalists from neighbouring Nigeria.

Leaders of both faiths have been striving to restore strong community bonds by means of an inter-religious dialogue backed by a plan to “renew the value of living together” (REVE) funded by the European Union.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE 

Rise of the Muslim Bishop

2015_9$largeimg04_Sep_2015_000746270It was not for nothing that detractors called Archbishop Josiah Idowu Fearon of the Anglican Communion a Muslim Bishop: he is a bishop, no doubt; but obviously, he is not a Muslim, even though he knows the religion better than many Muslims.
Once His Grace was invited to one of those many unending Northern meetings to give a talk appropriate for the occasion. Given the choice of theme and topic, he chose what in the circumstance he considered was the most important one facing the peoples of the North – the disappearing unity, equality and essential oneness of its people. He chose to reunite them under God.

As he rose to begin his lecture in Transcorp Hilton’s Congress Hall, he raised his hands as if in prayer – and at that moment you could see it all: here was this unassuming, unpretentious and self-effacing tender of the vineyard who possessed nothing besides his ecclesiastical collar exuding such moral presence as dominated all that was before him.
He chose to give an exposition of the meaning of Surat at-Ikhlas, the 112th chapter of the Holy Quran.
Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim    

Qul huwallahu ahad

Allahus samad ….

Beginning as every Surah does – in the Name of God, and in anticipation of His mercy and grace, Bishop Fearon articulated the Quranic concepts of the unity and the uniqueness of God; and drew the attention of the audience especially to the implications of this for them. It was a long and meaningful talk; and here Fearon was the restorer of the Christian ethic and raison d’etre of love even in pain, and he was acting as a reminder to Muslims and enforcer of their forgotten duty of pan-Abrahamaic brotherhood and fellowship.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE DAILY TRUST 

Christian, Muslim and Jewish artists unite in prayer for the world

[Episcopal News Service]

ens_101614_caravan-500x581The Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler grew up in Senegal, a predominately Muslim country in West Africa where his father was a minister.

Throughout his childhood he observed the tension between Muslims and Christians.

“I thought there has to be a better way. Most of my best friends were Muslims, and today still, Muslims number among my closest friends,” the Episcopal priest said, sitting on a wooden bench at New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the world’s largest Gothic cathedral. He answered logistics calls and texts on his cell phone while taking a break from working on the 2014 CARAVAN Exhibition of Visual Art, “AMEN: A Prayer for the World.”

Open to the public until Nov. 23, the art show embodies Chandler’s lifelong mission: to ease that religious and cultural tension by focusing on commonalities rather than trying to overcome differences. With religious extremism and persecution so prevalent and interwoven so thickly with politics, especially in the Middle East, this mission is needed now more than ever, he said.

FULL ARTICLE FROM EPISCOPAL NEWS SERVICE 

Muslims seek refuge in Central African Republic church

164-onLGU.AuSt.55CARNOT, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC — The Christian militiamen know hundreds of Muslims are hiding here on the grounds of the Catholic church and now they’re giving them a final ultimatum: Leave Central African Republic within a week or face death at the hands of machete-wielding youths.

On Monday, some of the 30 Cameroonian peacekeepers fired into the air to disperse angry militia fighters congregated outside the concrete walls of the church compound. The gunfire sent traumatized children running for cover and set off a chorus of wails throughout the courtyard.

The peacekeepers are all that stand between nearly 800 Muslims and the armed gangs who want them dead. Already the fighters known as the anti-Balaka have brought 40 liters (10 gallons) of gasoline and threatened to burn the church to the ground.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

 

A Look at Muslim-Christian Relations in Ethiopia

1390326813014The Muslim-Christian relationship in Ethiopia has a mixed historical background. Ethiopia is located on a religious fault line, although the relationship between the two religions has been reasonably cordial in recent decades.

Christian rule has prevailed in the Ethiopian highlands since the early 4th century. Early in the 7th century a group of Arab followers of Islam in danger of persecution by local authorities in Arabia took refuge in the Axumite Kingdom of the Ethiopian highlands. As a result of this generosity, the Prophet Mohammed concluded that Ethiopia should not be targeted for jihad. Not all Muslims took this message seriously and subsequent contact was less cordial. In the late 15th century, Islamic raids from the Somali port of Zeila plagued the Ethiopian highlands. In the first half of the 16th century, the Islamic threat became more serious when Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al Ghazi rallied a diverse group of Muslims in a jihad to end Christian power in the highlands. The Ethiopians finally defeated this threat by the middle of the 16th century.

Although Wahhabi missionaries from the Arabian Peninsula made efforts to penetrate Ethiopia beginning in the 19th century, they had little success until recent decades. During the first half of the 1800s, Egyptian/Ottoman power in neighboring Sudan made periodic incursions inside Ethiopia. In 1875, the khedive of Egypt tried unsuccessfully to conquer Ethiopia entering from the Red Sea. The last major organized threat from Islam occurred in 1888 when the forces of the Mahdi in the Sudan sacked the former Ethiopian capital of Gondar and burned many of its churches. Subsequently, both the Ethiopians and the Mahdists harbored rebels opposed to the other side, creating a tit-for-tat situation that has periodically continued to the present day.

FULL ARTICLE FROM INTERNATIONAL POLICY DIGEST