Pakistan: another Christian woman and her disabled husband remain jailed for blasphemy and await execution

Pakistan: another Christian woman and her disabled husband remain jailed for blasphemy and await execution

MAY 14, 2019 9:00 AM BY CHRISTINE DOUGLASS-WILLIAMS20 COMMENTS

“Following the joyous news of Christian Asia Bibi’s release from jail,” there is another worrying case: “the plight of a Christian Pakistani couple who have also been facing execution in a Pakistan prison for five years.”

The couple, Shagufta Kousar and Shafqat Masih,  stated that “the motive behind the allegations” of blasphemy against them was that their accusers “wanted revenge after a minor quarrel that took place between their children and their neighbours 6 months prior.”  Accusations of blasphemy against Christians are routine and are taken on the word of Muslims who often lie as revenge during a dispute. Their word being automatically taken as truth shows the inferior status of Christians in Pakistan.

False accusations of blasphemy are merely a means to subjugate and persecute Christians. Fake evidence is also sometimes planted against Christians. For example, a village cleric planted pages of the Quran among burnt pages in the bag of a Christian girl and then pinned the blamed the girl.  She is now being held in prison for blasphemy amid threats of violent mobs trying to kill her. The clerics own act of desecrating the Quran but setting up the young girl caused 600 Christians to flee for their lives to escaped enraged Muslims. As for rest of the girl’s family; they will never be able to return to their home village and will remain in hiding indefinitely.

Shafqat Misih is currently paralysed from the waist down following an accident in 2004 when he fractured his spine and is also suffering from depression. Moreover painful sores that he has developed since his incarceration are causing a rapid decline in his health which could lead to a premature death.

After Asia Bibi’s blasphemy death sentence was overturned, Pakistani Christians feared even greater persecution and more violence against them. The case of Bibi became high profile in the media with over 400-thousand people globally signing a petition for her to be released, but let us not forget the countless other Christians in Pakistan who are rotting away in cloistered Pakistani jail cells under harsh conditions.

“Pakistan’s other woman blasphemy victim and her disabled husband still await an appeal against their blasphemy conviction”, by Wilson Chowdhry, British Pakistani Christians, May 12, 2019:

Following the joyous news of Christian Asia Bibi’s release from jail in the early hours of Wednesday 8th May, we highlight the plight of a Christian Pakistani couple who have also been facing execution in a Pakistan prison for five years.

Please sign our petition (click here)

Shagufta Kousar and Shafqat Masih were sentenced to death on 4th April 2014 following a court trial where they were accused of sending blasphemous text under Islamic law to a Muslim man. Now Shagufta is imprisoned at Multan Jail and Shafqat is 150 miles away at Faisalabad District Jail both have have not seen each other since their incarceration and are exhibiting signs of severe depression.

The couple, believed to be in their late 30’s, hail from the city of Gojra from the Punjab province. They led a simple life and were living with their four young children in a church compound. Shagufta was employed as a cleaner and servant at the local church school.

On 18th July 2013, Muhammad Hussain, a Muslim, complained to his Mosque clerics about a blasphemous text that he had allegedly received on his phone whilst praying and whilst seeking legal advice, he claimed to have received more.

Despite Shagufta and Shafqat being illiterate and unabke to text in English or having an understanding of alphanumeric symbols, local police registered a blasphemy case following the complaint of a cleric. This resulted in the couple being arrested on 21st July 2019 under charges of both “insulting the Koran” and “insulting the Prophet.”

The police had obtained confessions from Shafqat which both defendants claim was given under duress. Shafqat has stated to his previous lawyer fighting his case at Toba Tek Singh District Court “To save my wife, I confessed,”

The couple have appealed the sentence at district court level on the grounds that the witnesses produced by the prosecution during the trial were related to the complainant and were therefore inimical towards the couple. The appeal stated: ‘Their statements require independent corroboration, which is lacking in this case.”

Furthermore, evidence exists that Judge Mian Amir Habib, who sentenced the couple to capital punishment, was intimidated by hardline lawyers and religious leaders in the community.

Shagufta, a caretaker at St John Girls High School, Gojra said that her National Identity Card was stolen by a friend of Mr. Hussain who had used it to purchase a SIM card in her name that was then used to send the text messages which the prosecution denies.

Both Shagufta and Shafqat are arguing against their conviction on the basis that there is no evidence that they purchased the SIM involved and adding that as they are both illiterate, could not have possible sent the messages which were written in English.

The couple have also stated that the motive behind the allegations made by Mr. Hussain was that he wanted revenge after a minor quarrel that took place between their children and their neighbours 6 months prior……

Crosses in Italian Cemetery Covered to Avoid Offence to Other Religions

Crosses in Italian Cemetery Covered to Avoid Offence to Other Religions

Creative Commons usage
Pixabay

CHRIS TOMLINSON9 Apr 20195,8192:47

The crosses on graves in an Italian cemetery in Pieve di Cento have been covered with black cloth so as not to offend those who may come from another religion.

The cemetery, which is located in Bologna in a town of around 7,000 people, has also installed motorised blackout curtains in a local chapel following renovations to hide Roman Catholic symbols during ceremonies involving other denominations, Il Giornalereports.

Following the reports of the coverings of the symbols, many have expressed criticism including Forza Italia (Forward Italy) deputy Galeazzo Bignami who denounced the move saying those looking not to offend were disrespecting Christian values and he added, “even more so the memory of our dead, hiding them behind ‘motorised tents’ in a cemetery to avoid offending other religions.”

“If the administrators are ashamed of our tradition and our culture, they should go and hide themselves and not just behind a motorised tent. If they are not able to bring respect for the living at least they have the decency to leave the dead alone and not involve them in foolishness,” he added.

Italy’s League Party Proposes Law Requiring Crucifixes in All Public Buildings https://t.co/ChduQ5b8vm— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 26, 2018

Breitbart London@BreitbartLondon

Italy’s League Party Proposes Law Requiring Crucifixes in All Public Buildings https://www.breitbart.com/london/2018/07/26/italys-league-party-proposes-law-requiring-crucifixes-all-public-buildings/ …1224:30 and privacyItaly Proposes Law Requiring Crucifixes in All Public BuildingsA bill has been introduced in the Italian parliament requiring crucifixes in all public buildings, including train stations and ports.breitbart.com64 people are talking about this

Conservative-populist Brothers of Italy (FdI) leader Giorgia Meloni also commented on the case saying, “Using the excuse of respect for others, they lack respect for our Catholic culture and our traditions. Now the Left is beyond fanaticism. This is ideological delirium.”

The incident is also unlikely to have been well met by populist Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s League party which proposed in 2018 to require a crucifix be hung in all public buildings including train stations, airports, universities, and embassies.

The covering up of the crosses is also not the first time Italians have covered up statues and monuments so as not to offend those from different cultures.

In 2016, the-Prime Minister Matteo Renzi had statues at the Capitoline Museum covered entirely so as not to offend Iranian President Hassam Rouhani who had come to Italy on a state visit. The move was met with widespread derision from the public on social media.

The Archbishop of Florence has announced he will be selling 86,000 square feet of property to a Muslim group in order for them to build a mosque in Sesto Fiorentino.

Cardinal of Florence, Giuseppe Betori, approved of the sale saying, “The transformation of Western societies into multi-ethnic, multicultural, and multi-religious societies is a fact and a future that inevitably awaits us.”

In the northern city of Bergamo, another Muslim association has spent nearly half a million euros on an old church, which they also plan to convert into a mosque.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com

Kyrgyzstan: Muslims Beat Ex-Muslim Almost to Death for Converting to Christianity

Kyrgyzstan: Muslims Beat Ex-Muslim Almost to Death for Converting to Christianity

APR 11, 2019 8:00 AM BY ROBERT SPENCER5 COMMENTS

The death penalty for apostasy is part of Islamic law. It’s based on the Qur’an: “They wish you would disbelieve as they disbelieved so you would be alike. So do not take from among them allies until they emigrate for the cause of Allah. But if they turn away, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them and take not from among them any ally or helper.” (Qur’an 4:89)

A hadith depicts Muhammad saying: “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him” (Bukhari 9.84.57). The death penalty for apostasy is part of Islamic law according to all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence.

This is still the position of all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence, both Sunni and Shi’ite. Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the most renowned and prominent Muslim cleric in the world, has stated: “The Muslim jurists are unanimous that apostates must be punished, yet they differ as to determining the kind of punishment to be inflicted upon them. The majority of them, including the four main schools of jurisprudence (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hanbali) as well as the other four schools of jurisprudence (the four Shiite schools of Az-Zaidiyyah, Al-Ithna-‘ashriyyah, Al-Ja’fariyyah, and Az-Zaheriyyah) agree that apostates must be executed.”

Qaradawi also once famously said: “If they had gotten rid of the apostasy punishment, Islam wouldn’t exist today.”

“Kyrgyzstan: ‘We are going to lock you in prison and you are going to beg me for your life,” Barnabas Fund, April 9, 2019 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):

A Kyrgyz man who was almost beaten to death by three angry Muslims after converting to Christianity has become a victim yet again.

Eldos, who is in his mid-20s, was held captive for ten hours in a prosecutor’s office in the capital Bishkek by the lawyer of his attackers.

The lawyer tried to force Eldos to drop the charges against the three men who viciously attacked him in October.

“We are going to lock you in prison and you are going to beg me for your life,” was just one of the threats made by the lawyer during the latest ordeal.

Eldos and his Christian uncle, fearing for their lives, fled to another country two days later.

The persecution of Eldos began on 17 October 2018 when the three Muslim extremists broke into a house in the village of Tamchi, Issyk-Kul, looking to beat up his Christian uncle.

Instead they found Eldos and asked if he was a Christian too. When he said he was they punched and kicked him to the ground.

They shouted at him that he was a kaffir (a derogatory term for a non-Muslim) and that he had betrayed Islam (the classic Islamic view of Muslims who leave Islam).

Then they tried to force him to say the shahada (the Islamic creed), which is considered conversion or re-conversion to Islam, but Eldos bravely refused.

They then repeatedly kicked him in the head as he lay helpless on the floor, fracturing his jaw and smashing his teeth and leaving him semi-conscious.

They then threatened that they would come back to kill him if he did not leave the village by the morning….

UK: Radical Muslims Welcome, Persecuted Christians Need Not Apply

UK: Radical Muslims Welcome, Persecuted Christians Need Not Apply

by Raymond Ibrahim
March 31, 2019 at 5:00 am

https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/13975/uk-unwelcome-christians

S
  • In rejecting the claim for asylum of a man who converted from Islam to Christianity, and presumably compelling his return to Iran, the British government is effectively sentencing him to death.
  • “[O]ut of 4,850 Syrian refugees accepted for resettlement by the Home Office in 2017, only eleven were Christian, representing just 0.2% of all Syrian refugees accepted by the UK.” — Barnabas Fund.
  • At the same time, the Home Office allowed a Pakistani cleric, Syed Muzaffar Shah Qadri, considered so extreme that he is banned even from his native Pakistan, to come and lecture in UK mosques.
  • “It’s unbelievable that these persecuted Christians who come from the cradle of Christianity are being told there is no room at the inn, when the UK is offering a welcome to Islamists who persecute Christians…. There is a serious systemic problem when Islamist leaders who advocate persecution of Christians are given the green light telling them that their applications for UK visas will be looked on favourably, while visas for short pastoral visits to the UK are denied to Christian leaders whose churches are facing genocide. That is an urgent issue that Home Office ministers need to grasp and correct.” — Dr. Martin Parsons, Barnabas Fund.
In rejecting the claim for asylum of a man who converted from Islam to Christianity, and presumably compelling his return to Iran, the British government is effectively sentencing him to death. (Image source: iStock)

In two unrelated cases, the United Kingdom denied asylum to persecuted Christians by bizarrely citing the Bible and Jesus. Both Christians, a man and a woman, are former Muslims who were separately seeking asylum from the Islamic Republic of Iran, the ninth-worst persecutor of Christians — particularly of those who were Muslims and converted to Christianity.

UK asylum worker Nathan Stevens recently shared their stories. In his rejection letter from the UK’s Home Office, which is in charge of immigration, the Iranian man was told that biblical passages were “inconsistent” with his claim to have converted to Christianity after discovering it was a “peaceful” faith. The letter cited several biblical excerpts, including from Exodus, Leviticus, and Matthew, presumably to show that the Bible is violent; it said Revelation was “filled with imagery of revenge, destruction, death and violence.” The governmental letter then concluded:

“These examples are inconsistent with your claim that you converted to Christianity after discovering it is a ‘peaceful’ religion, as opposed to Islam which contains violence, rage and revenge.”

In response, Nathan Stevens, the asylum seeker’s caseworker, tweeted:

“… I’ve seen a lot over the years, but even I was genuinely shocked to read this unbelievably offensive diatribe being used to justify a refusal of asylum.

Stevens added:

“Whatever your views on faith, how can a government official arbitrarily pick bits out of a holy book and then use them to trash someone’s heartfelt reason for coming to a personal decision to follow another faith?

There seemed no awareness that, despite occasional verses of violence in the Bible, its main message, in both the Old and New Testaments, is to be found in Leviticus 19:18: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

In rejecting the claim for asylum of this man who converted from Islam to Christianity, and presumably compelling his return to Iran, the British government is effectively sentencing him to death.

In the second case, an Iranian female asylum seeker was informed in her rejection letter:

“You affirmed in your AIR [Asylum Interview Record] that Jesus is your saviour, but then claimed that He would not be able to save you from the Iranian regime. It is therefore considered that you have no conviction in your faith and your belief in Jesus is half-hearted.”

Recently interviewed on BBC Radio 4, the woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, said:

“When I was in Iran I converted to Christianity and the situation changed and the government were [sic] looking for me and I had to flee from Iran…. In my country if someone converts to Christianity their punishment is death or execution.”

Concerning the asylum process, she said that whenever she responded to her Home Office interviewer, “he was either chuckling or maybe just kind of mocking when he was talking to me…. [H]e asked me why Jesus didn’t help you from the Iranian regime or Iranian authorities.”

These two recently exposed cases appear to be symptomatic not only of a breathtaking lack of logic that flies in the face of history — God obviously did not always save those who believed in Him — but also what increasing appears to be a venomous Home Office bias against Christians. For instance, when Sister Ban Madleen, a Christian nun in Iraq who had fled the Islamic State, applied to the Home Office to visit her sick sister in Britain, she was denied a visa — twice. Another report cites a number of other Christian orderlies who were denied visas, including another nun with a PhD in Biblical Theology from Oxford; a nun denied for not having a personal bank account, and a Catholic priest denied for not being married.

In another case, the Home Office not only denied entry to three heroic Christian leaders — archbishops celebrated for their efforts to aid persecuted Christians in Syria and Iraq who had been invited to attend the consecration of the UK’s first Syriac Cathedral, an event attended by Prince Charles — but also mockingly told them there was “no room at the inn.”

Even longtime Christian residents are being deported. Earlier this year, Asher Samson, 41, a Christian man who had been residing in the UK for 15 years and undergoing theological studies, was deported back to Pakistan — where he had earlier been “beaten and threatened by Islamic extremists.” (Such treatment is normative for Christians in Pakistan, the world’s fifth-worst persecutor of Christians.) Samson’s former UK pastor said:

“I’ve received some messages from him. He’s very scared, he’s fearful for his life…. He’s in hiding in Pakistan and his family are terribly worried for him…. At the moment he has no funds to live on — he can’t work …. [T]he UK is sending people back to these countries where their lives are in danger.”

By contrast, a report from the Barnabas Fund found that in offering asylum, the UK “appears to discriminate in favour of Muslims” instead of Christians. Statistics confirm this allegation:

“Figures obtained by Barnabas Fund under a Freedom of Information request show that out of 4,850 Syrian refugees accepted for resettlement by the Home Office in 2017, only eleven were Christian, representing just 0.2% of all Syrian refugees accepted by the UK.”

Statistics from earlier years have shown the same disparity. Although Christians accounted for approximately 10% of Syria’s prewar population, the overwhelming majority of Syrians granted asylum by the Home Office were Sunni Muslims. Such an imbalance appears even more bizarre when one realizes that the Islamic State (ISIS) is itself a Sunni organization that targets non-Sunnis, primarily Yazidis, Christians and Shiite Muslims, all minority groups that the U.S. government acknowledges have been targets of genocide.

As Lord David Alton of Liverpool, a life peer in the House of Lords, wrote to Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who heads the Home Office:

“It is widely accepted that Christians, who constituted around 10 per cent of Syria’s pre-war population, were specifically targeted by jihadi rebels and continue to be at risk…. As last year’s statistics more than amply demonstrate, this [ratio imbalance between Muslim and Christian refugees taken in] is not a statistical blip. It shows a pattern of discrimination that the Government has a legal duty to take concrete steps to address.”

Considering that persecuted Christian minorities — including priests and nuns — are denied visas, one might conclude that perhaps the Home Office just has extremely stringent asylum requirements. This notion is quickly dispelled, however, when one sees that the Home Office regularly grants visas and refugee status to extremist Muslims. One has yet to hear about Muslim asylum seekers being denied visas because the Koran is too violent, or because they do “not have enough faith” in Muhammad.

Ahmed Hassan, despite having no papers — and despite telling the Home Office that “he had been trained as an ISIS soldier” — was still granted asylum two years before he launched a terrorist attack in a London train station that left 30 injured in September 2017.

The Home Office also allowed a foreign Muslim cleric, Hamza Sodagar, to enter and lecture in London, even though he advocates beheading, burning, or throwing homosexuals from cliffs.

In addition, according to another report, “British teenagers are being forced to marry abroad and are raped and impregnated while the Home Office ‘turns a blind eye’ by handing visas to their [mostly Muslim] husbands.”

The case of Asia Bibi — a Christian mother of five who has spent the last decade of her life on death row in Pakistan for challenging the authority of Muhammad— is perhaps emblematic of the immigration situation in the UK. After she was finally acquitted last November, Muslims rioted throughout Pakistan; in one march, more than 11,000 Muslims demanded her instant and public hanging.

As Pakistanis make up the majority of all Muslims in the UK — Sajid Javid the head of the Home Office is himself Pakistani — when they got wind that the UK might offer Asia Bibi asylum, they too rioted. As a result, Prime Minister Theresa May personally blocked Bibi’s asylum application — “despite UK playing host to [Muslim] hijackers, extremists and rapists,” one headline read. The UK, in other words, was openly allowing “asylum policy to be dictated to by a Pakistan mob,” reported the Guardian, “after it was confirmed it urged the Home Office not to grant Asia Bibi political asylum in the UK…”

At the same time, the Home Office allowed a Pakistani cleric, Syed Muzaffar Shah Qadri, considered so extreme that he is banned even from his native Pakistan, to come and lecture in UK mosques. Qadri celebrated the slaughter of a politician because he had defended Asia Bibi.

In short, local Muslim opinion apparently plays a major role in the UK’s immigration policy: radical Muslims are welcomed with open arms; Christian “infidels” need not apply.

Commenting on the difficulties Christian minority asylum seekers have with the Home Office, Dr. Martin Parsons, the head of research at the Barnabas Fund, remarking that “visas were granted in July to two Pakistani Islamic leaders who have called for the killing of Christians accused of blasphemy,” summarized the situation:

“It’s unbelievable that these persecuted Christians who come from the cradle of Christianity are being told there is no room at the inn, when the UK is offering a welcome to Islamists who persecute Christians…. There is a serious systemic problem when Islamist leaders who advocate persecution of Christians are given the green light telling them that their applications for UK visas will be looked on favourably, while visas for short pastoral visits to the UK are denied to Christian leaders whose churches are facing genocide. That is an urgent issue that Home Office ministers need to grasp and correct.”

Raymond Ibrahim, author of the new book, Sword and Scimitar, Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Nigeria: Muslims burn four churches and 28 homes, rape and murder Christian woman in raids on Christian villages

Nigeria: Muslims burn four churches and 28 homes, rape and murder Christian woman in raids on Christian villages

MAR 29, 2019 6:13 PM BY ROBERT SPENCER18 COMMENTS

In New Zealand, a man just got fired for calling Islam “violent and destructive.” No notice is taken in such cases of incidents such as this one, as common as they are.

“Christian Woman Raped, Killed as Herdsmen Attack Two Villages in Nigeria,” Morning Star News, March 28, 2019:

JOS, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked two predominantly Christian villages in north-central Nigeria after beating, raping and killing a 19-year-old Christian woman in the pre-dawn hours on Saturday (March 23), her father said.

Danlami Mante told Morning Star News that armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen ambushed Joy Danlami and her two younger siblings as they were returning to Mante village, Nasarawa state, at about 2 a.m. after the Christians attended a community feast in Katanza village, Akwanga County. His younger daughter, 16-year-old Patience Danlami, and 14-year-old son, Aboy Danlami, escaped with gunshot and machete wounds, he said.

“The armed herdsmen chased them with dangerous weapons,” Mante told Morning Star News. “Joy’s nose and face was battered, and then she was sexually assaulted by the herdsmen before being killed. She was shot.”

After the ambush, the herdsmen proceeded to the family’s native Mante village, where they burned down 17 houses, he said. They then rampaged through Nidan village, burning another 11 homes. They also burned two Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) buildings and two belonging to the Evangelical Reformed Church of Christ (ERCC) in the two villages, Mante said. His family belongs to the local ERCC congregation.

Hundreds of Christians displaced in the attacks have taken refuge in Akwanga town….

Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.

Radical Muslims Murder 32 Nigerian Christians, Torch Church in Brutal Attack

Radical Muslims Murder 32 Nigerian Christians, Torch Church in Brutal Attack

CBN03-04-2019Emily Jones

 

Radical Muslims murdered more than 30 Christians in Nigeria last week. This is just the latest account of systematic Islamic violence towards Christ-followers in that country. 

The Guardian reports that Fulani herdsmen assaulted the Christians around 4 a.m. in Karamar village in the Maro district of Kajuru. 

The herdsman reportedly set fire to several houses and a church. The terrorists then sporadically shot at families trying to escape the blaze, killing 32 people. Related


‘Sinister’: What’s Behind the Genocide That’s Left 6,000 Nigerian Christians Dead 

‘The Death Knell for the Nigerian Church’: New Massacre Sparks Fear for Christians

Children Murdered in Their Beds: Nigeria Now the Deadliest Place to Be a Christian


Local government officials condemned the vicious attack. “The state government has been assured that the security agencies are working assiduously to contain the situation. The government is saddened by these attacks, condemns the perpetrators and urges all residents of the area to support the security agencies in their efforts to protect communities,” said Samuel Aruwan, the senior special assistant to the governor.

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) also condemned the deadly assault and urged young Nigerians not to retaliate against the terrorists. 

“We have appealed to the youths in the area that there must never be any reprisal. We want to give the security operatives in the state the benefit of the doubt to go after the killers. We don’t want any reprisal attack because the circle of violence and killings will continue,” Rev. Joseph Hayap added.

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CBN News reported last year that hundreds of Christians were killed in clashes with the Muslim herdsman. 

Last June, Fulani herdsmen, who are mostly Muslim attacked six predominantly Christian villages in Nigeria’s Plateau state. Many of those killed were Christians, and they were reportedly hacked to death.

According to the Global Terrorism Index, Fulani herdsmen have killed more than 60,000 people since 2001.

Bosun Emmanuel, secretary of the National Christian Elders Forum and a prominent Nigerian Christian leader, says the Muslim community has done little to protect Christians and believes Christianity will go extinct in Nigeria if no one helps. 

“Realistically speaking, Christianity is on the brink of extinction in Nigeria,” Emmanuel claimed during a forum. “The ascendancy of Sharia ideology in Nigeria rings the death knell for the Nigerian Church.”

READ: How Is Christianity any Different than Other Religions?

“In 2018, we can say in 25 years from now, we are facing the risk of being the last Christians in Nigeria,” Emmanuel claimed. “Therefore, Christians should be in the frontline of defending democracy in Nigeria.”

Christian persecution watchdog group Open Doors ranks Nigeria high on the “World Watch List,” sitting at number 12 just below Syria.