Nigeria (MNN) — In Northern Nigeria, a Christian student named Deborah Samuel was accused of blasphemy and killed by a mob. Then, they burned her body. The college was shut down after videos of the incident appeared on social media.
Police arrested two suspects, sparking protests among Muslims throughout the city of Sokoto. A large crowd besieged a government building and later tried to loot shops owned by Christians.
Greg Kelley with World Mission says, “Boko Haram in the native language, Hausa (spoken by millions of Nigerians in the north) literally translates into, ‘Western education is forbidden,’ or ‘Western education is evil.’ It’s just a very radical interpretation of Islam.”
“Anything that allows tolerance or acceptance of Western education is attacked, and that includes moderate Muslims.”
And as Kelley points out, “blasphemy” is up to the mob to interpret. “Someone could just simply say, ‘Hey, Jesus was a greater teacher than Mohammed, or bring up the deity of Jesus in comparison to Muhammad.’”
Ministry to Muslims
Kelley says many Muslims are grieved by what radical groups are doing to Nigeria. In fact, many Muslims condemned the killing, including the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammed Sa’ad Abubakar, a leading spiritual authority among Muslims in Nigeria. The mob later protested outside his house.
Many families have lost everything to Boko Haram violence. Kelley says, “There are so many people in these internally displaced camps all across northern Nigeria. These people are frustrated. They’re sitting in these camps waiting for a Gospel witness.”
How to get involved
World Mission sends audio Bibles to the region and also provides humanitarian aid. Support the ministry here. Kelley says, “We’re helping villages with water projects and humanitarian efforts that really open the door.”
Pray also for God to change hearts. Kelley says, “Jesus died for those perpetrators. Jesus died for radical Islam and its followers.”
The header photo shows the sultan’s palace in Sokoto, Nigeria. (Photo courtesy of Sanijamilu2023, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)