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Kenya religious leaders urge unity in face of Garissa massacre

A Red Cross worker comforts a mourner as bodies of the students killed in a Thursday (April 2) attack, arrive at the Chiromo Mortuary in Nairobi. The assault by Somali militants killed 148 people on a Kenyan university, as anger grew among local residents over what they say was a government failure to prevent bloodshed. REUTERS/Herman Kariuki *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-PERSECUTION-ENVOY, originally transmitted on April 23, 2015.
A Red Cross worker comforts a mourner as bodies of the students killed in a Thursday (April 2) attack, arrive at the Chiromo Mortuary in Nairobi. At least 147 people died in an assault by Somali militants on a Kenyan university, as anger grew among local residents over what they say was a government failure to prevent bloodshed.  REUTERS/Herman Kariuki

courtesy Reuters

A Red Cross worker comforts a mourner as bodies of the students killed in a Thursday (April 2) attack, arrive at the Chiromo Mortuary in Nairobi. At least 147 people died in an assault by Somali militants on a Kenyan university, as anger grew among local residents over what they say was a government failure to prevent bloodshed. REUTERS/Herman Kariuki

NAIROBI, Kenya (RNS) As Good Friday services began here, Christian and Muslim leaders preached unity a day after a horrific terrorist attack at Garissa University College left 147 students dead, most of them Christians.

Al-Shabab, the Somalia-based Muslim insurgency, claimed responsibility for the massacre that began around 5:30 a.m. Thursday (April 2) as Muslims students were at mosque for morning prayers and Christian students were still asleep in their dorms.

The masked attackers — strapped with explosives and armed with AK-47s — stormed the dorms, took some hostages and gunned down others. When Kenyan security forces struck back, the attackers detonated explosives. Security forces killed four militants.

The Rev. Peter Karanja, general secretary of the National Council of Churches of Kenya, said the government and those responsible for security must start asking hard questions about what ails Kenya’s security system.

“It is our conviction that the folly of our homeland security is systemic and cannot be given cosmetic solutions,” said Karanja, who urged the international community to help confront these groups.

Anglican Archbishop Julius Kalu of Mombasa, a coastal city in southeastern Kenya, said the terrorists wanted to divide the country along religious lines.

“This must be resisted,” said Kalu while urging leaders to move to end religious, political and ethnic divides.

Muslim leaders here condemned the attack and disowned terrorists, terming them as criminals using religion to commit crimes.

“The Muslim community in Garissa County strongly condemns barbaric acts committed against innocent university students,” said Abdullahi Salat, chairman of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims. “Our heartfelt condolences go to the victims’ families.”

“This is an international war and can only be won if everyone takes part,” Salat added.

The clerics insisted on heightened security in all parts of the country, and asked the government to rein in social media, which they suggested was contributing to raised tensions.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, sent a telegram to Kenya’s Conference of Catholic Bishops to express Pope Francis’ condolences. It said: “His Holiness condemns this act of senseless brutality and prays for a change of heart among its perpetrators. He calls upon all those in authority to redouble their efforts to work with all men and women in Kenya to bring an end to such violence and to hasten the dawn of a new era of brotherhood, justice and peace.”

YS/AMB END NZWILI

About the author

Fredrick Nzwili

Fredrick Nzwili is a journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya. For more than 15 years, he has written about religion, politics, peace and conflict, development, security, environment and wildlife. His articles have appeared in international media organizations among others; The Tablet, The Christian Science Monitor, The National Geographic and Kenyan local newspapers; The Standard and the People Daily.

33 Comments

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  • My heart-felt sorrow for the victims and all who knew them. Everyone in the world should have the right to practice his/her religion without any interference.
    “…for violence is an enemy to justice.”

  • We must find a way to abandon religion. None of these gods are real.

    Religion grants permission to kill. That is all it is good for:

    “Slay them” – Allah (Surah 9:22)
    “Kill them” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)
    “Slaughter them in daylight” – Yahweh (Deuteronomy)

    When will humanity awaken from these dark ages and find its true potential?

  • Humanity does not require a reason or a religion to kill. For those like you Max, who pin their hopes on ‘rationalistic atheism,’ I hope you live long enough to reap the benefit of what you’re asking for. And may God have mercy on your soul.

  • @Diogenes,

    “Humanity does not require a reason or a religion to kill.”

    Then why does only religion go out of its way to recommend killing?
    Why does every man made God demand mass murder?

    “The only cure for homosexuals is that they be put to death”
    – Pastor Robbie Galaty
    Tennessee Megachurch, Sept 4, 2014

    If humanity is likely to kill without religion HOW MUCH MORE DESPICABLE IS IT for Religion to recommend much MORE killing?

    “Bring to me those enemies of mine..Execute them in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

    You call that a recipe for peace and love? Shame on you.

    Shame on those who preach Jesus, Yahweh, Aphrodite and Thor and Allah. To claim these gods are real is all crap and nonsense and you can’t prove any god exists of any kind.

  • Even though this is a despicable act of cowardice, we must not succumb to the Devil’s temptation to hate and despise, but rather to pray for these fools who are doing the work of the Devil, and don’t even realize it. If they could only see the horrible spirits who are are tempting them, they’d run for the hills:

    Matthew 5:44 “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”

    Luke 8:24 “But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.”

    May God have mercy on those souls who lost their lives.

  • Muslims have killed in the name of their religion again. Yet, in the comments we see,
    1) Christian scriptures of peace
    2) A call to read a “Islamic book” that promotes Islam
    3) Reference to “parable of talents” ?!?
    4) Reference to OT

    Does anyone else see a pattern here?

    If only you followed Jesus, you wouldn’t have to do so much mental gymnastics in the comments section to defend your religion that has now become indefensible.

  • @BBrave,

    “Blessed are the poor in spirit”?
    Cruel nonsense. Depression and misery are nothing to celebrate. Have you no feelings for other people?

    “Blessed are they who mourn?”
    More cruel nonsense. Tell that to a mother who lost a child beaten brain dead by a bully.

    “Blessed are the meek”?
    Tell that to a rape victim or someone living under dictatorship. Tell it to a woman being beaten every day by her husband. Childish, dangerous. It amounts to baby talk.

    “Blessed are those who hunger for righteousness”?
    The yearning for vengeance is nothing to celebrate. Destroying enemies Osama bin Laden was necessary, but it is very poor taste to glory in it.

  • @BBrave,

    “Blessed are the merciful”?
    Baby talk! not a grown up approach to life. Besides, it is a direct contradiction from the previous statement about righteous vengeance!

    “Blessed are the pure of heart”?
    This is a celebration of theworst gullibility. An infantile injunction which runs in direct opposition to thinking for oneself and behaving responsibly. It is a yearning to be a baby and never grow up.

  • “Blessed are the Peacemakers”?
    Duh. Why didn’t this ridiculous Jesus character ever take his own advice? The contradictions are sickening:
    “I have not come to bring peace but a sword” – JESUS
    “Do you think I came to bring peace on Earth? No, but division.” – Jesus – (Luke 12:49-51)
    “if you have money, buy a sword” – Jesus (Luke 22:36-37)
    “Execute them” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

    “Blessed are they who are persecuted..”
    Self congratulatory nonsense. Islam has this same foolishness. This works really well for the continuation of a despicable philosophy. As long as someone dares to challenge you and ask you questions you can congratulate yourself for your “suffering.”

    The Sermon on the Mount didn’t happen. There is no ‘mount’ for one thing.
    The text is entirely lifted and redacted from a hodgepodge of older texts and pre-Jesus myths from more than 2000 years ago.
    The sentences are EMBARASSINGLY the same.

    Think for yourself. This is obviously…

  • Bbrave,

    “Islam in fact is perfect totalitarianism…”

    ALL RELIGION is totalitarian.
    It gets you from birth to death and even beyond:

    Convicts you of Original Sin
    Demands total surrender
    Convicts you of Thought Crime
    Convicts you of Eternal Punishment

    Religion is an assault on reason and an ongoing threat to humanity. For no good reason.

    There is no evidence of a single god ever being real – EVER!

  • Just one of the many reasons we need God’s kingdom or heavenly government (Daniel 2:44) to come and intervene in man’s affairs, since it will be the only source of true peace and security and bring about the end of all wicked ones on the planet (Isaiah 11:1-9; Psalm 37:10,11).

  • Funny, Greg, that your “omnipotent” sky fairy is incapable of just putting Satan out of our way. Crazy fairy tale that you’ve fallen for.

  • Jesus clearly advocated killing too. Both the Christian and Muslim cults are quite similar that way. Both should be abandoned.

  • Uhhh right. And exactly when are your jerk of a sky fairy and your Chocolate Zombie Jesus going to swoop in and fix this mess that your “god” supposedly created and is responsible for? You’ve fallen for a crazy myth, Fran. You should take the time to look at it critically for a change instead of spamming us with yet more bible claptrap.

  • “Of course but God of Spinoza is metaphor and nothing more…..
    “I received your letter of June 10th. I have never talked to a Jesuit priest in my life and I am astonished by the audacity to tell such lies about me. From the viewpoint of a Jesuit priest

    I am, of course, and always have been an Atheist.”
    – Albert Einstein,

    Letter to Guy H. Raner Jr., July 2, 1945

  • Bbrave,

    God is a metaphor and I believe in Spinoza’s God just as much as I believe in the metaphor of the Big Bad Wolf.

    Though it is ridiculous to pray to, or put any power in, the Big Bad Wolf it is true that as a metaphor it is very useful.

    “He huffed and he puffed…but he could not blow down the house of brick”

    That is not a useless lesson. But what you are doing is the equivalent of praying to the Big Bad Wolf and believing the Big Bad Wolf or the Good Little Pig might respond.

    God is a toy. A plaything.
    God is a concept for discussing large ideas – it is a metaphor!

    Like “Melting Pot” or “A Fine Mess” it is just a metaphor. A literary device to discuss grand plans and the fickleness of fate.

    The Big Bad Wolf is not a real thing any more than any of these ridiculous gods and demons.

  • Bob,

    We are living in the last days of a wicked era. God is not responsible for the mess we are in, but Satan, the God of this world, is definitely exerting his influence now. Man’s corrupt systems, including political and economic, don’t help either.

    After the political systems put an end to false religion (the great tribulation), then the world’s political systems (the “kings of the earth” according to Revelation) will do battle with God, the Father of Jesus, since they do not want to give up their power over man (the war of Armageddon according to Revelation).

    After God’s victory takes place, then the millennial rule of God’s kingdom or heavenly government will begin. No one on earth knows the exact date, but the signs are there that it is close. There will be no doubt as to who the only true God is and what his purpose is for humans on earth. Man’s governments and promises to fix everything will remain a myth.

  • Bob, although I disagree with some of Fran’s specifics, we agree in principle that the signs of end are clearly coming to be. We however, do not know how bad it must get before God intervenes:
    The end of time will be marked with many many signs, all of which one could interpret as presently happening. I’ll copy several of my favorite ones:
    2 Timothy 3:1-4 “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. People will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God”
    Hmmm.
    Joel 2:28-32 “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men see visions”
    Apparitions anyone?

  • Greg, your whole superstition AKA Christianity is utter nonsense. You incredibly gullible folk have been claiming that the end is near for centuries, and these “signs” that you present are so general that they could apply to any point in history.

    Look, it’s ridiculous to claim that a loving, active, and omnipotent “god” such as your absurd Christian sky fairy is claimed to be would make its followers wait through centuries and many generations for it to finally get its lazy ass in gear and save them. What a pathetic, cruel excuse for a deity that you worship. Get over your superstitions already.

  • My comment also applies to crazy Fran’s claims. Fran, really, enough already. Stop promoting your ridiculous Christian fictions. The whole Jesus-sacrifice story, the foundation of your crazy superstition, is a steaming pile of bull-do. How is it again that your omnipotent being couldn’t do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus’ death a “sacrifice”, when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Pretty pathetic “god” that you’ve made for yourself there.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
    Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

  • Kenya: well over 100 Christians murdered.

    Christian response: over $500K sent to a pizza parlor in Indiana.

    2nd Christian reponse: Tim Cook should be attacking China, not Indiana.

  • Jerry asks, “Does anyone else see a pattern here?”

    Well, “Taqiya Ahmed” has been schooled in the art of lying for Al-lah. “Taqiya Ahmed” is the “European” atheist, gets material from JW sites and occasionally peddles an Islamic book. One has to wonder who is getting deceived other than the deceiver himself/herself?

  • Bob, the Catholic Church has never officially proclaimed the end, and never will. The end will come when God decides “it is finished” (Rev. 21:6-8). I am merely speculating that there are many signs lining up. That is my take, not my Church’s. Anyway. Have a Happy Easter, and make the best of it. This is the day when people such as yourself should challenge God to show you He exists. If you do so, and are sincere, he will show you.

  • Bob,

    You mock Almighty God, the the Creator of the entire universe, including the earth and mankind, who is perfect in love, justice, wisdom and power.

    You also mock God’s son, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, who willingly and out of love for his Father and man gave his perfect life as a ransom sacrifice for all imperfect mankind.

    You also mock God’s kingdom or heavenly government, a provision from God that will apply the benefits of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice to humans and put an end to all that ails us.

    If you do not wish to live forever on a paradise earth with true peace, security and brotherhood of man, so be it. That is your choice.

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