After slipping across Somalia’s border, on Thursday, four Al-Shabaab militants in suicide vests padded across the grounds of Kenya’s Garissa University to a lecture hall where Christian students were praying. With a hail of automatic weapons’ fire they cut down worshipers. Fanning out, the killers stalked dormitory halls, promising students in hiding they would be spared if they came out. But those who came out were immediately shot. The attackers promised not to kill “ladies”. That too was a ploy and many were shot. Witnesses say Christian students were targeted and Muslim students were permitted to leave unharmed. The attackers laughed at their handiwork and chanted in Swahili, ‘We don’t fear death, this will be a good Easter holiday for us!”
When Kenyan soldiers arrived the terrorists took dozens of hostages. 13 hours after the horror began, soldiers gunned down the attackers and moved in to assess the carnage. It was unspeakable: 147 dead, over 65 wounded.
Al-Shabaab claims to serve Allah. Islam is the fastest growing faith on the planet. A just-released Pew Foundation study suggests it will also surpass Christianity as the largest by the middle of this century. Yet the most extreme of its practitioners zealously believe a doctrine of death: slaughter those who don’t believe–often in the most gruesome of ways, and suicide/death during jihad is one of the few sure paths to heaven. No wonder Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of the book Heretic and former Muslim herself, labeled Islam “…a destructive, nihilistic cult of death…”
This weekend Christians celebrate the God who not only rescues His people from death, but out of love willingly dies Himself to liberate rebels like me from His wrath. How different these doctrines: one calls people to hate, kill and seek death, and one calls people to love, offer life–and be willing to die so that others might live. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on [Jesus] the sins of us all. Isaiah 53:6