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The new martyrs of Nairobi?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Sep 25, 2013

Reports from Nairobi indicate that before killing shoppers at the Westgate mall, terrorists gave them an opportunity to make an Islamic profession of faith. Those who were willing to recite the Muslim formula—“There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet”—were allowed leave unharmed. Those who were unwilling were killed.

Religion journalist Terry Mattingly : “Rest assured that if members of ancient liturgical churches died in this massacre, after being urged to convert by the mujahideen, there will be people who will make the case for these victims to be hailed as martyrs.”

And why not? We still don’t have all the facts about the Kenyan mall massacre. We don’t know whether Christians were killed out of contempt for the faith. Maybe the terrorists were just doing their best to sort out the religious groups and spare their Muslim brethren; that would be a somewhat different thing. Still, if Christians refused to renounce their faith and died as a result, there’s a strong case to be made for including them in the long, glorious list of martyrs.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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