Boko Haram May 10, 2014

Written by | May, 2014
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From the Field May 10, 2014
It is all over the news about the dreadful kidnapping of school girls by the Boko Haram in Nigeria. My heart goes out to the parents of the girls. And then we hear about a bombing that kills several hundred. This is not really ‘new’ news when it comes to Muslims in Nigeria. Persecution of Christians has been going on for a very long time in northern Nigeria where the Muslims are the overwhelming majority. The push for the Sharia law has been ongoing for many years. And the tacit approval by many Muslims of all of this and more is a great shame for a country that is now passing South Africa as the economic power of Africa.
I served in Nigeria from ’86-’90 and again living there from ’98-’05. While we were in the Christian South, we heard a lot about what was going on in the North.
•Muslim cattle were purposely driven through farm fields of Christians.
•When riots occurred in the North the tally of destroyed buildings included many Christian churches.
•The death toll of Christians was a constant.
•Several northern states passed into law the Sharia. This carried down into daily life for people. For instance a motorcyclist(this was a means of travel by people paying for a ride) could not have a woman on the back of his bike as a paid traveler. Christians were moving from areas of the Sharia Law because of persecution and the implications of it.
The answer to all of this for government is to protect all of its citizens and not treat any one group as superior, nor to be intimidated by violent forces like Boko Haram. We should pray for Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.
The answer to all of this for the church is to reach out to ‘enemies’ as Jesus taught “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”
When we were in Nigeria the NCLC sent a missionary up to the North. But it was not easy for him. He knew Hausa, which was the language of the dominant tribe. He had worked for a company there and was familiar with his area. We tried, but had to bring the man back down after a while. No group was gathered about the Word by our man. Historically, outreach to Muslims has been one of the hardest due to Muslim hatred, arrogance and intransigence. We found the same in East Africa in Kenya and Tanzania. We need to praise the Lord that in the CLCI in India there are Muslim converts and even pastors. And we need to pray for our enemies.