The Trump administrations honored an 83-year-old Muslim cleric who hid 262 Christians in his home and mosque during an attack in central Nigeria.
Imam Abubakar Abdullahi, along with four religious leaders from Sudan, Iraq, Brazil and Cyprus, were awarded the 2019 the International Religious Freedom Award, which is given to advocates of religious freedom.
Abdullahi was recognized for providing shelter for hundreds of Christians fleeing attacks from Muslim herdsmen who had launched coordinated attacks on Christian farmers in 10 villages in the Barkin Ladi area of Plateau State on June 23, 2018.
“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,” the State Department added.
“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.”
International Religious Freedom Ambassador Sam Brownback said at the event, “The imam gave refuge to his Christian neighbors, sheltering 262 Christians in his mosque and his home. … then stood outside the doors confronting the Muslim attackers, pleading with them to spare the lives of the Christians inside, even offering to exchange his own life for theirs.”
“His actions bear witness to true courage, true selflessness, and true brotherly love,” Brownback added.
The secretary of state tweeted:
Privileged to present five extraordinary #religiousfreedom advocates with the @StateDept’s first-ever #IRFAwards today. Their heroic efforts to build bridges & protect vulnerable religious minorities, often at their own personal risk, are an inspiration to us all.
Privileged to present five extraordinary #religiousfreedom advocates with the @StateDept’s first-ever #IRFAwards today. Their heroic efforts to build bridges & protect vulnerable religious minorities, often at their own personal risk, are an inspiration to us all. pic.twitter.com/SxJI9XQZYT
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) July 18, 2019
God sends his people on earth with a purpose.
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