NIGERIA: Muslim Riots in Jigawa Displace 5,000 Christians and Burn 18 Churches
September 28, 2006
The following news is not uncommon in most of the world. If you are an American Christian I want you to remember that for the most part, our nation does not persecute Christians. Most of the world does persecute Christians. Please read this story, and then let it inspire you to stand firm for Jesus and tell people the truth about salvation, sin and the future. You were called for such a time as this.
As a result of a religious dispute, nearly 5,000 Christians were displaced and six were injured on September 20th, when Muslim rioters destroyed and torched at least 18 churches, 20 Christian homes, and 40 Christian shops in Dutse, the capital of Jigawa state in Northern Nigeria. After an Islamic young man made several unsuccessful advances on Jummai, a female Christian, he angrily reacted by calling her a fake Christian who follows a “useless Jesus.” Jummai responded by telling the boy he followed “a useless prophet—Muhammad.” Furious, the Muslim boy raised alarm through the town by proclaiming that a Christian lady blasphemed Muhammad. She was quickly taken to the local police station where she was kept in custody to diffuse the potentially volatile situation.
The Muslim teen returned to the police station several hours later after mobilizing a militant band of Muslim youth. He incited them to attack the police by claiming they arrested Jummai, but did not inflict any punishment on her for insulting Mohammed. After this rampage, Muslim youth rampaged throughout the capital and other regions of Jigawa state by hurling violence and destruction on Christians and their churches, homes, cars and places of business. At least six Christians were wounded in the mayhem, with one receiving severe injuries. Thousands of believers were forced to stay in refugee camps, police barracks and schools due to the merciless rioting. Nighttime curfews were enforced and government troops were deployed in tanks and trucks to deter further upheavals.
Mr. Aderemi Ogunmola was one of the Christians caught in the violence. While visiting the home of Pastor Adeyinka (of Christ Apostolic Church), rioters ransacked the church compound using knives, sticks, stones and other weapons. Once they poured gallons of gasoline all around, they surrounded the compound, throwing flaming projectiles and rocks inside. While other Christians were able to escape from the attack in time, Aderemi was captured by the Muslim militants. After catching him, they nearly beat him to death, slashing his head with a machete. They proceeded to douse him with gasoline, but failed to set him ablaze when he broke away and managed to jump over a wall in front of the church and escape. Meanwhile, as the entire church was burning to the ground Pastor Adeyinka attempted to flee in his station wagon. When the mob caught up with him, he was able to flee on foot before his car was engulfed in flames.
VOM is mobilizing workers to assist in a relief effort for Christians affected by the riots. Many buildings were looted before they were torn down and torched. Some of the destroyed churches include: Calvary Life Church, Divine Life Church, Assemblies of God Church, Living Faith Church, Christ Apostolic Church, The Apostolic Church, Ecwa Clinic Church, Presbyterian Church, Anglican Cathedral, Celestial Church, Redeemed Christian Church of God, Jigawa Outreach Bible Church and Christ the King Catholic Church of Dutse. The Nigerian Christian Coppers fellowship lounge, which housed Christians serving together in Jigawa state, was also left in ashes.