- The Washington Times - Monday, September 23, 2013

The gunmen responsible for killing nearly 70 and injuring more than 175 in the ongoing Kenya mall massacre and hostage situation targeted non-Muslims who couldn’t recite passages from the Koran, witnesses who escaped said on Monday.

Those who failed to name the mother of the prophet Mohammed or recite Koran lines were considered “kafirs,” or non-believers, and shot, The Daily Mail reported, citing witness accounts. These non-believers — including men, women and children — were lined up and gunned down by the AK-47-wielding attackers.

“We kept running to different places, but the shots were getting louder so we barricaded ourselves with about 60 others into a large storeroom,” said one witness, Hannah Chisholm, 21, who was vacationing from Surrey and got caught in the mayhem. “There were children hiding with us as well as someone who had been shot.”

She said that initially, those fleeing the gunshots thought the attackers were thieves.

But Greg Aldous, from New Zealand, said he watched a man being gunned down and soon after learned: “These are Islamic fundamentalist nutcases. They just shot and killed anybody. They are horrible.”

He eventually escaped.

SEE ALSO: 3 Kenya mall gunmen are from America: report

“If they had found me … I’m white, so I’m dead,” he said, to the Daily Mail. “They’re not even going to think twice. They hate your skin color.

Radio presenter Saadia Ahmed said similarly.

“I witnessed a few people get up and say something in Arabic, and the gunmen let them go. A colleague of mine said he was Muslim and recited something in Arabic, and they let him go as well. I saw a lot of children and elderly people being shot dead. I don’t understand why you would shoot a 5-year-old child.”

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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