Persecution of Ex-Muslims (Nigeria)

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Cattleman arrested and severely tortured by the police for converting to Christianity, detained for four days and receives death threats from Muslims

Only the timely intervention of a Christian lawyer, Michael Paiko Ibrahim, and the Rev. Matthew Oladokun, the pastor of the town’s First Baptist Church, saved Sashi from being killed in the police cell.
. . .

“On that day, a police patrol team parked beside me and ordered me into their vehicle,” Sashi said. “They took me to their station and asked to know whether I was a Muslim. I told them I was once a Muslim but was now a Christian.”

The officers asked him to recite the Shadah, the Islamic creed, and to demonstrate how Muslims pray and worship Allah. Sashi complied. They asked why he had converted from Islam to Christianity. “Before I could respond to their question, they started beating me,” he said. “I was beaten with police batons and clubbed to the point of death.”

Bludgeoned into a stupor, Sashi was clamped into a police cell for four days. At last Rev. Oladokun learned of the arrest. “I went to the police station to bail him out, but the policemen refused him bail,” said Rev. Oladokun. “I contacted a member of our church who was a lawyer, and we went to the police station, but this time they demanded that we pay an equivalent of $100 [about two months minimum wage in Nigeria] before we bail him. We could not pay the money. However, after persisting, he was released to us.”

Sashi has since received death threats from Muslims in the town.
. . .

Rev. Oladokun says his greatest fear is that, “Sashi’s life and that of his family is in danger.” The town Muslims will never relent in their efforts to kill him, he said.
Nigerian Cattleman Severely Tortured for Receiving Christ
Obed Minchakpu, Compass Direct, October 31, 2005

Christian pastor (himself a convert) faces arrest if he does not "produce" another recent convert from Islam, even though they are aware that he has been abducted from his house by Muslim militants

For Pastor Zacheous Habu Bu Ngwenche, time is running out. In the next two weeks he may find himself back in police detention if he does not produce a convert from Islam abducted from his house by Muslim militants in September.

The 31-year-old pastor of Foursquare Gospel Church in Akwanga, in central Nigeria’s Nasarawa state, was arrested twice in September for harboring a Muslim who converted to Christianity. After the second arrest, he spent seven days in a cell in Lafia, the state capital.

One of Ngwenche’s disciples, Adamu Bello, had gone to Bauchi state, in northern Nigeria where sharia (Islamic law) has been imposed, to proclaim Christ among Muslims. In the village of Bura, in Ningi Local Government Area, Bello preached to Bature Suleimanu Idi, a Muslim who in January gave his life to Christ. Sensing that Idi’s life was in danger because of his decision to become a Christian, Bello sent him to Akwanga to take refuge with Ngwenche.

In August, Shiite Muslims in Akwanga discovered that Idi had converted to Christianity; they abducted him on September 10.

“Idi was abducted in front of my house and taken to a mosque belonging to the Shiite Islamic sect on Wamba road in Akwanga town,” Ngwenche said. “I went and met the leaders of the Muslim community in this town to protest the abduction. But they claimed that I was holding Idi against his will and was teaching him Christianity without the consent of his relations.”

The Muslim leaders reported the matter to the police, who arrested Ngwenche. Questioning both him and Idi, Ngwenche said, police discovered that Idi had decided to become a Christian without outside pressure.

But police said that the case was “very sensitive in view of the volatile nature of religious issues in Nigeria” and took Ngwenche and Idi to police headquarters in Lafia. In the criminal investigation department, the assistant police commissioner questioning them found only confirmation of what Akwanga police had discovered – that Idi’s conversion was voluntary and uncoerced.

Police released them but instructed Ngwenche to arrange for Idi to be taken back to his hometown of Ningi. But Idi told police that he would not go back to his village, as his family would kill him for renouncing Islam.

Abducted Again

After Ngwenche and Idi returned to Akwanga, on September 12 the Muslim militants again abducted Idi. Ngwenche again reported his abduction at the Akwanga police station that same day. The police asked him to go home but report back the following day if Idi did not return.

“I returned the following day to the police station when Idi did not return home,” Ngwenche said. “I was arrested by the police and detained.”

Police again took him to Lafia, where they held him in detention for seven days, he said. Ngwenche’s church helped him to win bail.

“I have now been told to produce the Muslim convert, even when the police know that it is the Muslims that abducted Idi,” Ngwenche said. “My fear is that he will be killed. We have raised teams of searchers to help rescue Idi.”

Police have told Ngwenche that if he does not produce Idi before the end of the year – in the next two weeks – he runs the risk of going back into detention.

Though not a clear majority, Muslims have large populations in Nasarawa state. Some officials in the state have campaigned for sharia to be imposed, as in 12 northern states, but so far without success.

Kingdom Opposition

Ngwenche, also a former Muslim, became a Christian as a young adult and soon thereafter heeded the missionary call. After graduating from the Foursquare Gospel Church missions school, he decided his first mission field would be his family; his Muslim parents were the first to convert.

“My family members became the first members of the church I planted in my village,” he said.

In April of 1997, he planted the Nasarawa state’s first Foursquare Gospel Church in Aban village, which today has about 100 members. He’s also planted a church in Agyaga with 60 members; in Ningo village, 20 members; and in Goho village, 25 members. Other villages where his church plants are budding are Ninga, Anjida, Andaha and Buku.

On the whole, Ngwenche has planted 18 churches in eight years with a total of about 300 members. While developing 26 pastors as well as missionaries working in 22 areas, Ngwenche has seen opposition rear its ugly head.

“In 1989, I planted two churches in the villages of Nunku and Nunku Chu,” he said. “These villages were Muslim villages. I was frustrated there; I was beaten up by the Muslims, our church was attacked and all we had was destroyed.”

The 15 members the church in Nunku, including 14 converts from Islam, scattered. Likewise, the 25 members of the church in Nunku Chu dispersed; 15 of those members had been Muslim. The two churches existed for just one year.

Because of the opposition he faced in those two villages, Ngwenche moved to Akwanga to plant the church he’s now leading. Of its 34 members, three are converts from Islam.

In different states, two Muslims convert to Christianity and both are fleeing from Muslims who want to kill them

Aliyu, 24, is from Kominjak village near Namu town in Plateau state. “If they kill me, they are the losers, while my gain is eternal life,” he says of the uncle and other Muslims in the neighborhood who threatened to kill him earlier this year.
. . .

His uncle and other neighborhood Muslims warned him to either recant or be prepared to die as an infidel. “I could not take their threats lightly, as I know of a Muslim in the city of Katsina who was killed sometime ago when he became a Christian,” Aliyu said. “I decided that instead of renouncing Jesus, it was better I escape from home.” Nor did Aliyu find sympathy from his parents when he fled back to Kominjak village
. . .
He was fully aware that persecution had kept many Muslims from becoming Christians. “I was aware of this before I made the decision to follow Jesus,” he said. “I am therefore not surprised that they now want to kill me.”
. . .
While Aliyu is newly converted, Mohammed Sarajo has matured into an evangelizing church planter after becoming a Christian 12 years ago at age 16.
. . .
When Sarajo got home, his father told him that because he had renounced Islam he could not live with the family in the same house.“He said I was now an infidel,” Sarajo said. “So, on the last Saturday of the month of February in 1994, my father sent me out of our family home. I was dispossessed of all my clothes.”
. . .
Wamba town, which is predominantly Muslim, was engulfed in tension over Sarajo’s conversion. He had been one of the best Quranic students in town. His zeal for Islam was widely known, his sudden conversion shocking. Frightened, Chaga asked Sarajo to leave immediately. Persecution forced Sarajo to drop out of high school.
. . .

The police mounted a search, placing announcements on the radio declaring him “wanted.” They arrested him in Wamba after he had returned from a Christian outreach effort to Andaha town. “I was accused of causing confusion in the town because I became a Christian,” he said. “The two pastors who were encouraging me in the faith were accused by my parents and the police of deceiving me into becoming a Christian. I then shared my testimony with the police, now telling them why I became a Christian.”
The Life of a Convert in Nigeria: Fleeing Murder Threats
Obed Minchakpu, Compass Direct, December 13, 2006

Muslims shoot and kill two children of an ex-terrorist because he refused to kill a Christian and instead converted to Christianity

A militant group seeking to enforce Sharia, or Islamic law, throughout Nigeria, has shot and killed two children of an ex-terrorist and "murderer" because he converted to Christianity, well-informed missionaries told BosNewsLife Wednesday, November 23.

Boko Haram, meaning “Western education is a sin”, carried out the killings this month after discovering that a former fellow fighter refused to kill a Christian and instead accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, explained Rae Burnett, Africa Director of the U.S. based Christian Aid Mission (CAM) group.

Burnett told BosNewsLife that the father and Boko Haram militant "was poised to slit the throat of his Christian victim" during November attacks in northern Nigeria that killed at least over 130 Christians, including missionaries, when "he was suddenly struck with the weight of the evil he was about to commit."

Dropping his machete, the man ran to the nearest church, asking a pastor for help, Burnett said.
. . .
"After meeting the Lord, the converted terrorist [and] murderer called his former colleagues to testify what had happened to him without disclosing where he was," she said.

However, "Upon discovering the man's conversion to Christianity, Boko Haram members invaded his home, kidnapped his two children and informed him that they were going to execute them in retribution for his disloyalty to Islam. Clutching his phone, the man heard the sound of the guns that murdered his children," the CAM official added.

There was no known published comment about the specific attack by Boko Haram, but the reported murders were part of what President leader Goodluck Jonathan called "heinous violence" which began November 4 mainly in and around Damaturu, the capital of Nigeria's northern Yobe state.

Christian missionaries said that during the attacks Muslim "extremists" of Boko Haram also demanded that Christians recite the Islamic creed. Those who refused, were reportedly butchered on the spot.

Additionally, "among the "devastation and destruction left in the wake of Boko Haram's violence were 10 church buildings set aflame while Christians remained trapped inside," added Burnett, who has close knowledge about the situation.

Though "severely traumatized," the former Boko Haram fighter who lost his children "is growing in the knowledge of Christ through the loving care he is receiving from his brothers and sisters in the ministry that is sheltering and training him," she said. "He knows he is called to become a missionary to Nigerian Muslims."