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Ending The Persecution Of Nigerian Christians By Muslim Fanatics (Part 2)

By Abuchi Obiora

Part one of this discourse explored some of the most recent persecutions of Christians in Nigeria by Muslim fanatics, giving one, out of the two reasons why Christians are persecuted in Nigeria. It also suggested one of the two ways (obviously the cheaper way), to end the persecution of Christians in Nigeria.

The Part Two of the work examines the second reason why Nigerian Christians are persecuted by Muslim fanatics and offers a decisive second way – traditional Christian way – to end the persecution of Christians in Nigeria.

How long the persecution of Christians in Nigeria will last without addressing it, nobody knows. But the truth is that anything, however elastic it may be, breaks at a point when it’s elastic limit is exceeded. I have discovered that the physical law of elasticity applies to all life phenomena. It certainly, one day, must apply in the persecution of Nigerian Christians by Muslim fanatics, because the natural laws of change and cause/effect guarantee that the long-borne patience of Nigerian Christians will one day snap and Nigeria and Nigerians will be in for it.

The irony of the Nigerian situation is that while Nigerian Muslim fanatics maim and kill Christians because Christians either touch their Holy Book or say things considered by the Muslims not good about their Prophet, many Islamic clerics and writers not only buy, read and keep different editions of the Holy Bible, but also have the gut and effrontery to interpret the Christian Holy Book for Christians who they accuse of calling Jesus Christ son of God. As I write now, I have in my library thirteen of such books written by Muslims around the world.

These authors include Nigerian Muslims. I will not mention those books written by Nigerian authors in this discourse because I have mentioned some of them in one of the discourses earlier in the Kaleidoscope.

Is it not enough blasphemy to Christians and the Christian religion that the Glorious Qur’an refer to Christians as ‘People of the Book’ while some Muslims, obviously guided by the Islamic Holy Book simply regard Christians as swine – pigs.

Is it the duty of Muslims to teach Christians that Jesus Christ is not the Son of God, as Muslims do insist? My opinion is that what is good for the goose is also good for the gander, because we must talk about blasphemy across the board, not being selective in doing so.

FFK, a onetime Aviation Minister and a Christian put up a weak case in condemnation of the murder of Deborah Samuel. But I should think that Christians as him that are close to the government should be able, like their Muslim counterparts, to clearly defend their religious belief system.

One of the thirteen books written by Muslims which I have with me that want to teach Christians what to believe in and how to practice their religion was written by Sir Mohammed Zafrullah Khan. In his book ‘Deliverance from the Cross’, Zafrullah Khan regards Jesus Christ as an imposter who cheated and claimed that he rose from the dead while his disciples had smuggled him away dressed like a Gardner. Zafrullah Khan, in that devilish and extreme work of blasphemy against Christians and Christianity cast aspersion on the divinity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ claiming that Jesus Christ did not actually die in the cross where he was nailed.

The paradox is that this book by Zafrullah Khan was published in England (March 1978), clear ten years before Salman Rushdie, an Indian-born British-American published his own book, “The Satanic Verses” (1988), which almost cost him his life as Muslim Mullahs around the world placed chains of ‘Fatwa’ (death sentence by the Islamic Sharia Law) on him, with some Muslim groups offering money to get Mr. Rushdie killed.

I have read the two books written by Zafrullah Khan and Salman Rushdie many times over and believe that Sir Mohammed Zafrullah Khan’s book contains more blasphemy against Jesus Christ and the Christian religion than Mr. Salman Rushdie book contain what also may be regarded as blasphemy against the Islamic Prophet and the Religion of Islam, but Christians around the world never made any attempts to challenge the claims of Zafrullah Khan.

During the recent launching in Lagos of the book “Kumuyi: The Defender of the Faith”, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina urged Christian men of God to emulate the General Superintendent of Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Pastor Williams Folarunso Kumuyi. According to the Special Adviser to the President, “When Pastor Kumuyi talks, we can listen, knowing that his message is not tainted with politics, prejudice or any other consideration”.

Not long ago, the same Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity had slammed the founder and General Overseer of Living Faith Bible Church, Bishop David Oyedepo, who he claimed was blinded by his hatred for President Buhari, of making political statement.

The Special Adviser was reacting to some tweets in the Twitter Handle of Bishop Oyedepo. The Bishop had in the tweets described the incumbent government as a wicked and most corrupt government in the history of Nigeria, insisting that Nigerians have suffered untold hardship as a result of the high level of corruption amongst Nigerian political office holders in the present government. In several other tweets, the Bishop vociferously condemned the inaction of the government to address the persecution of Christians in Nigeria.

My question is: Was the Bishop telling a lie by saying that the sufferings of Nigerians in a country overseen by people who can steal up to N80b from the national treasury amounts to wickedness on the part of a government under whose watch the theft is perfected?        My opinion is that it is impossible for Church leaders to be apolitical where the destinies of many Nigerian citizens who constitute much of their membership are being toyed with.

It is doublespeak for Chief Femi Adesina to condemn Bishop Oyedepo when the later spoke in defense of Nigerian Christians especially as Chief Adesina has never been recorded to have condemned any Islamic religious leader (including Sheik Abubakar Gumi who has visibly been campaigning in defense of the Islamic terrorists) who make statements in defense of their religious fold that may also be said to be political.

This brings me to the second reason why Nigerian Christians are going through persecution at the hands of some Muslim fanatics in Nigeria. This reason is docility on the path of some Christian leaders and their inability to speak out in defense of the Christian religion in Nigeria.

It is thought-provoking that the same presidency which has looked the other side while Jesus Christ is blasphemed in Nigeria and his followers persecuted, kidnapped for ransom and killed, is hailing a great Christian man of God who, playing the role of a father to the Nigerian Christian community, will not like to spill the beans. The clean bill of correct practice to this Christian man of God, our spiritual father, by the presidency represents an ironical confirmation (or is it mockery) of the docility of Christians in Nigeria and we must say no to these forces that seek to destroy Christianity in Nigeria.

One of the purposes of this discourse is to prove that though Christians pray and believe that Jesus Christ will always defend his Church, historically, early Christians were not docile in defending their religious faith. The fiery Prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah neither spared the Israelites nor the then government of the provinces of the imperial Rome of their wrong doings. Prophet Elijah confronted Ahab at the risk of his life, and he won the battle for God. Frankly speaking, as a Christian of same denomination, I am lost in the understanding of the fact that a government within whose tenor Christianity has almost been pulverized, a government that is understood by most Christian leaders as not encouraging Christian worship in Nigeria, has given us a clean bill of operation for not speaking loud to defend our faith.

I have read the history of how Christianity was destroyed in Turkey, the ancestral homeland of St. Paul and I know that the docility of the Christian leaders in that country, with their love for ostentatious living were some of the primary factors for the annihilation of Christianity in Turkey.

The docility of Nigerian Christians has encouraged the guts of some Muslim fanatics to cause mayhem both to the lives and properties of Nigerian Christians.  A young Nigerian Reverend Father once took an analogy of what should be regarded as division of labour in the Christian practice.  Insisting that Nigerian Christians have prayed enough for peace and progress in Nigeria, the young Reverend  Father noted that Jesus Christ prayed for the resurrection of Lazarus and asked people to remove the stone which would have prevented Lazarus from gaining access to the world after having been raised from the dead. The young Reverend Father concluded by saying that the problem with Nigerian Christians is that people who should take the physical, empirical, final action of removing the stone have been spending their time praying. Some situations in life demand empirical, physical actions to change, otherwise, they will persist.

Perhaps, Pentecostal Christians may not know the origin of the word “Crusade” which they use to identify their outdoor, outreach and evangelism programmes. It is not my intention to discuss the topic of the four early Christian Crusades in this discourse but suffice to say that the early Christian Crusades were series of religious wars initiated, supported and sometimes directed by the Latin Church in the mediaeval period when the heat was on the Church.

The Crusades signaled the beginning of the era of the Knight Templars (The Templars) which was the Roman Catholic Military order that waged battles for the propagation of and in defense of Christianity. The activities of the Knight Templars were officially endorsed by many Pontiffs of the Roman Catholic Church through what were known as Papal Bulls including the Papal Bull (decree) called ‘Onme Datun Optimum’ of Pope Innocent II, promulgated on March 29, 1139. Though some of those Crusades failed in terms of winning the wars, statements were made with those wars that Christianity as a religion was indestructible. Another benefit of the Crusades was that the congregation of Christ on earth during the period increased astronomically when people from other religions flooded into Christianity having seen the virtues in the Christian religion.

It has always been the privilege of Christian Saints to die protecting the work of Jesus Christ on earth. As a matter of fact, there is no better and greater honor for one than to die protecting what he believed in. St. Stephens started the process of paying the supreme sacrifice to protect the work of Jesus Christ on earth. Unlike what some Christian leaders and some members of the present generation of Christians believe, Christianity has survived for more than two thousand years as a result of first, the decree by Jesus Christ that the Gate of Hell prevaleth not over his Church, and second, the doggedness of the Saints who became martyrs in defense of the work of Jesus Christ on earth and not as a result of the docility of some Christian leaders and some of the laity who expect things to happen in their favour without physical, empirical prompts .

It is important, at this point, for me to fully introduce the worst blasphemer of Jesus Christ and the Christian religion that I have ever read. He is Chaudhry Sir Mohammad Zafarullah Khan. Chaudhry Sir Mohammad Zafarullah Khan, KCSI, Canadian Pakistani (February 6th 1893- 1st September 1985) of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, was a jurist and diplomat. He was also a former President of the United Nations General Assembly, being also the only Pakistani to have presided over the International Court of Justice (ICC) at the Hagues, where all matters including those about religious conflicts between Christians and Muslims are adjudicated.

Chaudhry Sir Mohammad Zafarullah Khan is the author of the book “Deliverance from the Cross” published in London in March 1978, which I bought from the house then at number 45 Idumagbo Avenue, Lagos office of the Almadiyya Muslim mission in 1981.  

With the kind of view about Jesus Christ and the Christian religion held by some highly-placed Muslims in the international organizations that oversea the affairs of people across the world, it is doubtful that Nigerian Christians will ever get justice in the matter they have already tabled to the International Criminal Court since 2010, where another ‘Khan’ (Karim Asad Ahmad Khan QC) a Muslim and a British lawyer specializing in International Criminal Law and International Human Rights, holds sway as the new Prosecutor, replacing Mrs. Fatou Bensouda since 2021. For this reason, Nigerian Christians, especially those from the Southern Kaduna, represented by SOKAPU (Southern Kaduna Peoples Union) must look beyond petitioning the ICC and seek for other measures to save Christianity in Nigeria and also hold the international community responsible for the persecution of Nigerian Christians if the international community does not mandate the ICC to look into the persecution of Christians in Nigeria and bring the perpetrators to book.

Let us go down the history lane of persecution of Christians in their early years of Christianity to find out what actually happened and locate a pattern for the spread of the Christian religion around the world. Persecution of Christians first started as a social reaction and later became political in Rome as is presently happening in Nigeria wherefore the claim of Christians to the knowledge of the true God through Jesus Christ is contested by the religion of Islam.

As a social reaction, persecution of early Christians was because Christians had always hidden themselves after the death of Jesus Christ, for fear of being rounded up and killed as they held secret meetings out of fear. For this reason, they were called a secret society and persecuted on trumped-up allegations.

During Pax Romana, emperor worship was permitted together with the worship of other ancient gods. The religions that worshipped their gods together with the emperor were called ‘religio licita’ (lawful religion). Christians refused to worship the emperor together with the supreme God. For this reason, Christianity was called ‘religio ilicita’ (unlawful religion) and Christians were regarded as atheists.

This, the non-worship of the emperor together with the true God by Christians, is the second reason for the persecution of Christians who were hated, imprisoned, banished to lonely islands, condemned to work as slaves in the mines, cast to the lions as public spectacles, and executed by the sword.

(To be concluded)

ABUCHI OBIORA

abuchiobiora@gmail.com

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