NAIROBI, Kenya (BP) — In an attempt to counter the fear, suspicion and anxiety that followed last week’s (April 2) terrorist attack at Garissa University in eastern Kenya, Christian students at the University of Nairobi are organizing a day of fasting and prayer on their campus.
A Christian worker in Kenya shared his belief that even terrorists can be reconciled to God. “The only way to stop terrorism is by the Gospel transforming the would-be attackers,” he said. “As in the case of Paul the Apostle, these men once transformed could turn the world of terror upside down for the glory of God.”
The Christian worker said Campus Baptist Fellowship, a new church plant at the University of Nairobi, is hosting the special day of prayer April 9. Fellowship leaders believe a war on terror requires unconventional tactics: fasting, prayer and evangelistic witness.
The Al-Shabaab attack last week that targeted Christians at Garissa University left 147 people dead and dozens wounded. The university, located 90 miles from the Somali border, is in an area of Kenya that has seen frequent Al-Shabaab attacks. The Somalia-based Islamist group has often targeted westerners, both tourists and expatriate residents, and the U.S. Embassy has had travel warnings for that part of Kenya in effect for more than two years.
The terrorist group claimed responsibility for the September 2013 attack on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall, in which 67 people, including four terrorists, were killed. The mall plans to reopen in May.
The Christian worker said some of the students he knows around Kenya “claim to be living in fear, because no one can protect them.”
One student told the worker, “Anyone can just walk in off the street,” voicing a fear of many students that there are limitations in the security measures at universities around the country. The worker said the fear is compounded by many students’ belief that terrorists might have inside help from members of the student body.
One particular group, Kenyan Somalis, is being held in suspicion by other students because of their ethnic and religious ties to members of Al-Shabaab, the worker said. On April 3 after the Garissa attack, a mob of students formed on the University of Nairobi campus to voice what some might consider to be hate speech against Somali students.
No violence occurred, but the worker said the environment is dangerous for students of Somali descent. He said Campus Baptist Fellowship plans to double its efforts in reaching out to Somali students on the campus.
During the day of prayer, small prayer groups plan to fast and meet in dormitory rooms and off-campus housing, and a larger group will gather later in the day to pray.
Please join the students in praying for fellow students and others to find true peace that can only be found in Christ and for terror to be turned upside down by the Gospel.