Thursday, January 25, 2018

Post 61--Nigerian Muslims and Christians Persecuting Each Other

This blog features quite a bit of Nigeriana, especially about Christian-Muslim relations. The reason is that my wife and I have spent 30 years in that country as missionaries and published quite a number of books about it.  You can go to the Boeriana and Islamica pages of our website 
                                            < >.

So, this post is no exception.  Unfortunately, those relations have mostly been negative, tense, hostile and even violent. The details of that can be found on the above Islamica page.

Today's story is a typical one. If it were exceptional, I would not pass it on, but its typical nature requires that I do.  This is an example of what has been going on for years, for decades. You would think that with all the blood shed over the past 50 years or so, someone would get tired and reason would pop up to put a stop to all this, but no, it just goes on and on and on....

While I often encourage you, readers, to enjoy the post you are reading, I cannot do so today. Rather, I can only encourage you to weep as you read and to pray for peace and tolerance.

But there is another side to it. In today's story, Christians rightly feel persecuted.  However, so do Muslims, at least the apparent majority of Nigerian Muslims who constitute nearly half of the 180 million population of the country. To them, a secular constitution is a form of persecution of Muslims, for they want sharia law, not Western secular law. Most Christians do not seem to understand that.  It is a much more complicated picture than most Christians realize. Muslims persecute Christians; semi-secular Christians persecute Muslims. Neither one recognizes its contribution to the impasse.

So far my comments. Now proceed to read the following story, but be sure to have a bundle of napkins at hand.


Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 439 | Wed 24 Jan 2018 

For images and hyperlinks, visit  

        -- plus Update on Syria 

by Elizabeth Kendal

Nigerians Miss Nabila Umar Sanda (19) and Engineer Simput Eagles Dafup (33) 
met and exchanged contact details in Dubai four years ago. A few years later, 
as Nabila (a Muslim) was studying at Bingham University - a Church-owned 
university in Karu, in Nigeria's central Nasarawa State - she decided that 
she wanted to become a follower of Jesus Christ too. When Nabila learned that 
Simput Dafup was going to be in Jos, Plateau State, over Christmas (2017), 
she re-connected with him and arranged to meet him there. When Nabila told 
Simput that she wanted to convert to Christianity, he asked about her family, 
in particular her father who is a powerful Muslim elder and a traditional 
title holder in Biu, Borno State. Nabila told Simput that as she was 19, she 
was entitled to choose her own religion and would do so regardless of 
obstacles. However, Simput remained concerned, so on Monday 8 January he and 
Nabila sought advice and assistance frSanda Nabila Umar, Eagles Simput, Bimngham Uom local church leader, Pastor Jeremiah Datim. Cognisant of the delicacy of the situation, Pastor Datim decided it 
was best to follow protocol and contact the umbrella group for the Muslim 
community in Nigeria, Jama'atu Nasril lslam (JNI), to inform them of Nabila's 
decision to convert, in the hope they might smooth the way forward. When 
Nabila's parents were informed, her furious father vowed revenge and 
requested intervention by the Department of State Security Services (DSS).  

Later that day, DSS officers stormed Pastor Jeremiah Datim's home, assaulted 
his wife and children and abducted Nabila. They also violently abducted 
Simput Dafup from his home and arrested Daniel Hassan, the taxi driver who 
had driven Nabila from Abuja to Jos. At a press conference in Jos on Saturday 
13 January Pastor Jeremiah Datim clarified the constitutional issue at the 
heart of the crisis. 'I want to state,' he said, 'for the avoidance of doubt, 
that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees the right 
to anyone to propagate his faith and the right also to practise any religion 
of one's choice.' Simput Dafup's widowed mother, Lydia then appealed for 
information on her son's whereabouts. 'My son,' she said, 'a quiet gentleman 
par excellence, was on Monday, January 8, 2018, brutalised, tortured and 
whisked away from his residence in Jos by men we suspect were from the DSS 
for allegedly converting one Miss Nabila Umar Sanda from Islam to 

Though no charges had been laid and no arrest warrants issued, the DSS is 
alleging that Nabila was abducted in Abuja, held captive in Jos and forcibly 
converted to Christianity. This echoes the 'Camilia' myth promulgated by 
Islamists in Egypt [see: RLPB 082 (17 Nov 2010)]. The accusation comes as the 
Voice of Northern Christian Movement of Nigeria (VNCMN) is pressuring the 
government of President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the abduction of some 
100 Christian girls. VNCMN Executive Director, Pastor Kallamu Musa Ali Dikwa, 
explains: 'Muslims have abducted 100 Christian girls under the age of 18 and 
forcefully converted them to lslam and we have reported to security agencies 
severally but no arrest was made or return of Christian girls to their 
parents ... .' Thus the whole context mirrors that of Egypt [see: RLPB 398, 
'Bring Back Our Coptic Girls' (15 March 2017)]. But Nigeria is not Egypt! 
Nigeria is a democracy with a secular Constitution where Christians comprise 
at least 51 percent. Tensions are soaring.  

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has slammed the DSS 
for 'acting as some kind of  "Islamic religious police" ... We call on the 
National Assembly to call ... the [Director-General] of DSS to desist from 
using public offices to promote and canvass the interests of a particular 
religious group which are direct affronts to the Constitution of the Federal 
Republic of Nigeria which absolutely prohibits the elevation of one religion 
as state religion'.  


[In a separate incident, on 15 January DSS officers similarly (i.e., 
violently and without a warrant) attempted to arrest Jos preacher Isa El-Buba 
after he criticised President Buhari in a nationally broadcast sermon. Church 
members resisted, forcing the DSS to withdraw. For details on this and the 
Islamisation of Nigeria, see Religious Liberty Monitoring, 24 Jan 2018.]