The attacks at the Westland shopping mall in Kenya have left at least 62 dead and over 100 injured, according to a Sept. 23 report on The Independent. There is some activity still being reported at the scene, although law enforcement agencies are close to bringing things to a complete close. These attacks appear to herald some changes in the entire concept of martyrdom, the willingness to die for one's religion or beliefs.
Authorities are quite concerned because of the global nature of this attack; there were allegedly terrorists involved from around the world, even Western countries. There could possibly have been several participants from the U.S. and the leader is thought to have possibly come from Britain. Samantha Lewthwaite, 29 years old, is known as the "White Widow."
These younger terrorists differ in style and scope from the usual lone terrorist seeking to gain access to the rewards of the hereafter reserved for the martyrs of jihad. There may be a new clandestine type of terrorist, carrying out a more operational attack on easy civilian targets around the world. While they commit these acts in the name of jihad, they don't appear to be quite so resigned to destroying themselves in the process.
The attackers in Kenya made it clear that they were only interested in killing non-Muslim people, and then they did something quite bizarre. They killed those who were unable to answer some questions in order to prove they were Muslims. One question asked was the name of Mohammed's mother.
According to Fox News, many people were using Twitter to try to quickly obtain Arabic words and phases to memorize in order to masquerade as Muslims and avoid death.
Across Christendom, having the courage to stay true to your faith in the face of death has long been the ultimate in devotion to God. The martyrs of the Early Church have been honored throughout history because they refused to deny their Christian faith even as they were burnt at stake.
The modern Church has warned its members down through the years that they may one day be faced with having to choose between either dying or denouncing Jesus Christ. Of course, that has happened many times all over the world. In this most recent incident in Kenya, however, the terrorists just asked those they were preparing to kill if they were Muslim or not. They didn't even ask about their Christianity.
If they had, how many would have affirmed their faith? How many would have denied their faith? Are the terrorists making a statement about the level of commitment of the modern Christian church?