Film-work · Interfaith

True Story of Muslims Protecting Christians Nominated For An Oscar

Watu Wote

Picture this. Al-Shabab gunmen, based around northern Kenya, open fire on a bus and ask dozens of passengers on board to identify the Christian passengers. The Muslims on board refuse and decide to instead shield their fellow Christians. Some Muslims even offer their hijabs so the women can not be identified by their religion. As a result of this courageous act of religious solidarity, almost all of the passengers survive the attack.

This true story is recounted in the short fictional film “Watu Wote,” which is Swahili for “All of Us.” Katja Benrath, the film director, told National Catholic Reporter: “in this life-threatening moment, people stood up for each other – not caring about the religion of the next person because they wanted to save and shield human beings.”

Salah Farah is perhaps the main hero of the 2015 bus incident in northern Kenya. He was shot after refusing to be separated from Christian passengers. Farah later passed away due to his wounds, leaving behind four young children aged between two and 10. After his death, an online campaign was started to raise funds for his family. Today, he is a symbol of Christian-Muslim unity.

Prophet Muhammad would be proud of the Muslims that stood up for their Christian brothers and sisters. Muslims are commanded by Muhammad to protect Christians and their churches until the end of days.

The touching story of “Watu Wote” shows humanity can win even in the worst situations. The Muslims that protected the Christians have provided us a crucial example – unity of purpose in the face of religious fanaticism and discrimination.

In the end, we are one people.

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