Trump Administration State Department Honors Heroic Nigerian Muslim Cleric

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This is one of the most hopeful and positive stories to emerge in recent years in my opinion and I felt compelled to draw attention to it for anyone who has not seen it yet.

The State Department has bestowed its International Religious Freedom Award on an 83-year old Muslim cleric from Nigeria named Abubakar Abdullahi.

Imam Abdullahi’s story is remarkable. He saved 262 Christians from almost certain slaughter at the hands of Jihadists in northern Nigeria in 2018.

Here is the State Department’s statement about this brave humanitarian’s actions:

On June 23, 2018, ethnic Fulani herdsmen, who are predominantly Muslim, launched coordinated attacks on 10 villages in Barkin Ladi, killing hundreds of ethnic Berom farmers, who are predominantly Christian.  As Imam Abdullahi was finishing midday prayers, he and his congregation heard gunshots and went outside to see members of the town’s Christian community fleeing.  Instinctively, the Imam ushered 262 Christians into the mosque and his home next to the mosque.  The Imam then went outside to confront the gunmen and he refused to allow them to enter, pleading with them to spare the Christians inside, even offering to sacrifice his life for theirs.  Although the gunmen killed 84 people in Nghar village that day, Imam Abdullahi’s actions saved the lives of hundreds more.  Born in Bauchi State around 1936, the Imam has lived in Nghar for 60 years and led the Muslim community through the mosque, which was built on land provided by the Christian community.  Imam Abdullahi’s courage in the face of imminent danger and his history of outreach across religious divides demonstrates his lifelong commitment to promoting interfaith understanding and peace.

Christopher Holton

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