Nigeria: Youngsters killed at Christian school, Mubi: Christians forced to flee, Boko Haram renames it “City of Islam”

November 15, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

Mubi ChristiansNigeria, November 11, 2014: A suicide bomb attack in a Christian secondary school in the town of Potiskum in Yobe state, north-eastern Nigeria, has killed at least 47 people on Monday (10 November) as the students gathered for morning assembly. Boko Haram is thought to be behind the blast, having carried out several attacks on schools giving a Western-style education. Translated from Hausa, Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden”, of which this latest school attack is a stark reminder.

In a separate incident, trapped residents from the predominantly Christian city of Mubi in Adamawa state report that Christians have been tortured and killed after the Islamist group Boko Haram took control of the town on 29 October. Churches have been burned down across the city, and the homes of many believers have also been torched. The group has renamed the city Madinatul Islam, meaning “City of Islam”.

Mirroring developments in territory under the control of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, sharia law has been enforced in Mubi. (Ten Muslims who were accused of looting suffered public amputations, in line with sharia regulations.) The Islamist group is telling Christians in Mubi that they must leave, convert to Islam, or be killed. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reports that 13,000 people have fled to neighbouring Cameroon, and although most have now returned to Nigeria, they have said that their destination is Yola, the capital city of Adamawa state.

A church leader who escaped the area reported that most of the killings were of Christians who could not or would not recite the shahada (the basic Islamic creed that Muslims say is enough for a person to convert to Islam). Others reported that Christians had been stoned to death.

Mubi is the second city to be renamed by Boko Haram, after Gwoza in neighbouring Borno State was changed to Darul Hikma, meaning “House of Wisdom”, in July this year. The changing of Mubi to Madinatul Islam is significant, directly reminding Muslims of the Saudi Arabian city of Medina, the second holiest site in Islam. It was in Medina that, Muslims believe, Muhammad established the first Islamic state after his journey there in AD 622. Islamists seek to replicate this original Islamic state.

It appears that there has been a change in strategy by the Islamist group from hit-and-run attacks to the capture of territory. Mubi is the second largest city in Adamawa state and it seems set to become the headquarters of Boko Haram’s proposed caliphate.  Bishop Dami Stephen Mamza of Yola Diocese asserted that the risk of attack had increased after the government announced a ceasefire agreement with Boko Haram on 17 October; Boko Haram responded on 1 November by insisting that no agreement had been made.

Aware that Islamists would never allow themselves to be influenced by a Christian, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, appealed to Nigerian Muslims to help defeat Boko Haram: “You defeat an ideology with a superior ideology. Boko Haram will not listen to me. I want to make an appeal to our Muslim clerics and Muslim political leaders to come together and see how they can help us solve this problem”.

He also calls on the international community, NGOs, as well as Nigerian state and federal governments, saying “I wonder why the international community is not saying anything. Is this not a human rights violation? … We need help. Our people are dying. Come and help us”.

Appealing to all Nigerians, he states, “I believe as bad as the situation is, with God, all things are possible. I know that there is God. He will not forsake us. We have restrained our people so much and we will continue to restrain them. But I beg Nigerians not to let this continue. These are dangerous and serious times.”

– barnabas team

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