How might non-Muslims best protect themselves

Excerpted from Daniel Pipe’s [Khobar Rampage:] “Don’t Be Afraid, We Won’t Kill Muslims” :

After an Islamist rampage in the Saudi town of Khobar on May 29 and 30 that ended in the deaths of 22 people, survivors of that atrocity have recounted how the terrorists went to great lengths to ensure that they would kill only non-Muslims. Their actions raise a delicate but urgent issue: how might non-Muslims best protect themselves if caught in such a situation?

Even as the massacre was underway, the terrorists took pains to distinguish Muslims from non-Muslims. Here are some of the survivors’ testimonies:

Hazem Al-Damen, Muslim, Jordanian: two terrorists knocked on his door and asked him and others hiding whether they were “Muslims or Christians.” On hearing “Muslims,” the assailants told them to stay in the room because their purpose was to rid the country of Americans and Europeans.

Abu Hashem, 45, Muslim, an Iraqi-American engineer (also called “Mike” in some accounts): The terrorists demanded his residency card, which documented his religion (Muslim) and nationality (American). That combination provoked an argument between two terrorists. “He’s an American, we should shoot him,” said one. “We don’t shoot Muslims,” replied the other. The two went back and forth until the latter decided it: ‘Don’t be afraid. We won’t kill Muslims, even if you are an American.” With this decision, the terrorists turned polite, even apologizing for breaking into Abu Hashem’s home, searching it, and leaving blood stains on his carpet.

Abdul Salam al-Hakawati, 38, Muslim, a Lebanese corporate financial officer: He and his family hid upstairs in their house after hearing gunfire. Downstairs, they heard the terrorists break in and rummage around before one apparently noticed framed Koranic verses on the wall and announced to the others, “This is a Muslim house.” When a heavily armed terrorist came upstairs, Mr. Al-Hakawati confirmed his identity by greeting the assailant with “Assalamu ‘Alaykum,” the Muslim greeting.

Nizar Hajazeen, Christian, a Jordanian software businessmen: He hid with another Jordanian in a room but they opened the door when two armed young men banged violently on it. The terrorists asked the identity of the Jordanians, Arab or Westerners. “We’re Arab,” came the response. Each was then asked, “A Christian or a Muslim?” Both claimed to be Muslims and showed a Koran as proof.

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