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Saving Christians in the Name of Islam

By Craig Borlase | 13 June 2017 | Comments (1)

Muslim man saves Christians - Stewardship blog

(Residents walk with their belongings to the evacuation centre after government troops assault with insurgents from the so-called Maute group. Source: Reuters)


In the wake of three terror attacks in as many months, it is inevitable that we are asking some hard questions of our leaders. It is not just the politicians who must search for answers. As Christians living in an age of religion-motivated terror, have our attitudes towards Muslims changed? Are we tempted to back away from them, or do we feel compelled to engage?

Yet after so much coverage of the barbarity of Islamist militants in Europe, recent events in the Philippines offer a different perspective on Muslim–Christian relations.

When ISIS-supporting fighters overtook the southern city of Marawi, they announced their intent with a burned out cathedral and charred corpses. Masked fighters set up roadblocks on the bridges in and out of the city, targeting Christians. Some they took as hostages, others they killed and threw into a ravine.

So far, so familiar? 

Not quite. After the initial reports of Islamic terrorists, there came further accounts of many local Muslims standing against the extremists, at great personal risk. The senior cleric of the city declared the militants un-Islamic, while another Muslim leader risked his own life to hide dozens of Christians in a rice mill.

At the start of June, with the Philippine government preparing to retake the city using maximum force, time appeared to be running out. Hiding was no longer an option. According to reports in the British press, some of the Muslims offering shelter helped the Christians in their care to pass themselves off as Muslims and slip past the guards on the bridges.

One traditional clan leader helped 50 Christians escape, while another sheltered and smuggled 64 Christians past the snipers and the roadblocks. So far, more than 160 civilians have made it to safety; many of whom had been taught by their Muslim neighbours to shout ‘Allahu akbar!’ when questioned.

While details of events on Marawi are still emerging, it is clear the militants' strategy of sowing division has backfired. As cliché as it might sound, love, compassion and generosity has triumphed over hate.

"People’s hearts are like gold," said one church leader recently. "I have a Muslim friend who has only enough food for his family. He accommodated 20 evacuees in his house that is only good for two people."

Awkward as it may be, sometimes it is good to be reminded of the fact that no faith has the monopoly on good works or generous deeds.


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Vicky Sheppard

June 13, 2017 10:36 PM
Lord, please bless those Muslims who risked all to save Christians. May there be peace in Marawi.

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