They Cry in Silence Nov/Dec 2008
Any excuse to kill Christians will do. Evidently, that’s how things are done in parts of Nigeria.
According to Compass Direct News, Muslims are murdering Christians because the leader of the radical Islamist group Tibliq died in May from injuries sustained in a 2006 auto accident. Ali Olukade’s followers now claim his death was the result of Christian prayers following an aborted 2004 evangelistic event.
During that event, Muslims launched a hate campaign that forced German evangelist Reinhard Bonnke to cut three days from his five-day meeting schedule.
Muslims are attacking Christians in Ilorin, the Kwara state capitol, with machetes and other weapons. At least three Christians have died and others have been wounded. Motivation for this latest rampage goes beyond slaughtering, mutilating, and harassing local saints.
According to Rev. Cornelius Fawenu, secretary of the Kwara chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), “The members of his [Olukade’s] Muslim sect went on a rampage, demonstrating against America and the state of Israel, over claims that it was the prayers of Christians over the aborting of the gospel event of 2004 that caused their leader to be involved in an auto crash.”
The Kwara chapter of CAN has received 10 reports of Christians attacked by the Muslim extremists since the serial rampage began. However, many attacks and deaths go unreported. Rev. Fawenu, reported Compass Direct, “believes unreported assaults on Christians average about four daily.”
In June Pastor Habila of the Evangelical Church of West Africa was murdered. “The corpse of another Christian victim was found along stadium road, with his Bible beside him,” Fawenu said. A young girl living near the stadium was murdered in the same fashion.
As is often the case, those attacked were on their way to Christian church services. Now many stay away from their houses of worship out of fear.
Government officials have done little or nothing to stop this bloodshed. It was, in fact, government authorities who demanded the 2004 gospel meeting with Bonnke be shortened to three days because Muslim extremists complained.
These acts of violence cannot be, as is so often alleged, the result of mutual hostility from violent, religious factions on both sides. No Muslims have been attacked or killed as a result of Christian retribution.
Remember that the pretext for assaulting Christians was the false accusation that they were praying for the death of a radical Islamist leader. In reality, followers of Jesus are on their knees for quite another reason. They pray for their persecutors.
A world of difference exists between wielding machetes with intent to kill and offering intercession for one’s attackers. And this world of difference well defines the dichotomy between militants who delight to kill in the name of their god and those who present love and life to their enemies.
One thing is certain: While the world and much of what passes for Christianity turn eyes and hearts away from the suffering, He who never slumbers or sleeps will, in the end, bring justice.