Mon, Sep 30, 2013 - Page 7 News List

Jains, silent heroes of Nairobi attack response

RESPECTING LIFE:Jainism is one of the world’s oldest religions, whose roots are inspired by the same principles of tolerance that influenced India’s Mahatma Gandhi

AFP, NAIROBI

“When you live in Kenya, [help from the government] is the last thing you ask. You have to rely on yourself,” Shah said.

“Not a single person from the government came to ask what they could do,” Shah added.

Yet the Jains’ efforts did not go unnoticed, galvanizing good will among other religious communities and in some cases even breaking down the prejudice that permeates Kenya’s complex social fabric.

“The important thing is that all Kenyans came together as one, as Kenyans, people from all origins, all communities came to help,” said Miten Shah, another member of Oshwal’s Jain community.

“I never thought the Indians could be so generous,” an African Kenyan who survived the attack said.

A week after the bloodshed, as the nation took stock and licked its wounds, hundreds of people were back at the Oshwal center for a marathon ecumenical prayer vigil for the victims of the massacre.

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