Above: Norodin Lucman speaks to the media. Credit: Philippine Information Agency.
Over the past few months, we’ve seen news reports describing how ISIS are quickly losing their stranglehold over cities like Raqqa and Mosul. However, also newsworthy are the stories of people taking action and risk to reject their hateful ideology.
A recent example of this took place earlier this month in Marawi, south Philippines, where a man called Norodin Lucman shielded 64 Christians from ISIS terrorists after they infiltrated the city. Lucman, a Muslim clan leader who has studied Islamic Jurisprudence in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, was already a well-respected figure in the community.
After his bravery, local media are now (unsurprisingly) calling him a hero. But Lucman will hear none of it. Speaking to Al Arabiya, he said: ‘I was not playing the hero. It just so happened that I was at my house in Marawi city when the fighting first broke out. I knew there were some Christians working on nearby houses as carpenters and construction workers and I told my people to bring them to my house to avoid the cross-fire.’
So what had happened to cause the fighting to break out? Prior to Lucman’s intervention, a rebellion lead by Filipino extremists had just occurred in the city. The terrorists had pledged allegiance to ISIS, and they were now rampaging through Marawi executing Christians who could not recite any Qu’ranic verse on command.
Lucman shielded dozens of nearby Christian construction workers in his house. He gave them rations and water. Yet after 12 days, with supplies running perilously low, Lucman knew he had to move the Christians elsewhere. Leaving the house, however, meant potential capture by terrorists.
To increase their chances of survival, Lucman taught the men basic Islamic phrases like ‘Allahu Akbar’. He had the men carry the children and he dressed the women in hijabs. Lucman lead the Christians toward a bridge that would deliver them to the other side of Marawi, where they would be safe. As they approached, an ISIS militant reportedly blocked their path.
Now, remember how Lucman is an influential figure in his community? Not only a scholar, but a former politician? Well, in an immense stroke of good fortune, the militant recognised him, acknowledged his reputation, and waved Lucman and the 64 Christians on.
Lucman’s selfless act, as well as his ensuing humility, is a true reflection of his humanity and his faith. Best of all, he says that his act was not unusual during the rebellion in Marawi: ‘I wasn’t playing the hero, honestly. Just like my story, there are other stories of Muslim employers in Marawi who refused to abandon their Christian employees throughout the ordeal.’
‘The whole ordeal just goes to show that the fighting in the Philippines is not between Muslims and Christians as many people were quick to stand up and defend their countrymen,’ Lucman added.