Norodin Lucman, a 61-year-old community leader in Marawi, sheltered dozens of Christians amid a battle between Islamic State supporters and government forces.
A Filipino landowner has taken in a vast number of Christians to save them from Muslim extremists, as the battle of Marawi rages. ISIS-affiliated militants have besieged the city, as government forces attempt to flush them out. When the fierce fighting broke out in May, Norodin Lucman, a 61-year-old community leader in Marawi, was immediately on hand to shelter dozens of Christians from the shooting.
Lucman took in 80 people and moved them into a bigger location with a big fence and gate. But then, gunmen approached the property. Lucman crammed the Christians into a tiny laundry room and went and confronted the heavily armed men, according to the LA times.
The militants began rambling about religion. “Don’t lecture me about Islam,” Lucman bellowed. “I studied in Mecca!” The next day, the armed men returned with their commander, Abu Yaman. The man knew Lucman.
“Why are you doing this?” Lucman asked.
“I’m doing this for jihad,” Yaman said. “I will die here, as a martyr.”
“If that’s your decision,” Lucman said, “God be with you.”
Lucman closed the door before the commander could ask to come in. Then, he realized it was time to go. “We’re going out, by hook or by crook,” Lucman announced to his guests shortly after dawn on Day 12. “Say your prayers, I’ll say my prayers, and we’ll go. God will be with us. And if we live, thank God for that.”
They ran through the streets, carrying their children whilst sniper fire rang out all around them. At one point, an armed militant approached the group. “Who is Christian?” he shouted.
“There are no Christians,” one of the Muslim women replied. The group escaped.
“There are many cases of Muslim employers who died because they were protecting their Christian employees,” Lucman said. “It’s so sad. Because after my breakthrough, some people tried to do it themselves, and they failed.”
But is he worried about his own life? Islamic State “can kill me at their own risk,” he said. “Because killing me would be a very, very big issue in our society. You don’t kill someone like me. There would be retribution everywhere.”