Published: 00:01 GMT Daylight Time - Tuesday 05 April 2011
Lent Prayer - Nigeria
Project(s): 39-970, 39-917
Country/Region: Nigeria, Africa
The killing of Christians in Nigeria is sadly not unusual, but in 2010 the bloodshed was particularly severe. In January and March there were several appalling massacres of Christians by Muslims in Plateau State in the country’s Middle Belt, and the attacks spread to neighbouring Bauchi State in the North. It is estimated that hundreds of people died in this carnage. The violence has continued sporadically since then, with further attacks on villages and murders of individual Christians.
|Christians in Plateau State, Nigeria, mourn those killed in savage anti-Christian violence in early 2010|
The tensions between Muslims and Christians are rooted in Nigeria’s history. Islam has been well established for many centuries in the North, which is now about 93% Muslim, whereas vigorous mission work in the South from the 19th century has created a large Christian majority of around 80%. The population of the Middle Belt states is more evenly mixed, and it is here that the worst violence has usually occurred, although in recent years it has increasingly spread to the North under the influence of radical Islamist groups.
Elements of sharia have been introduced in twelve Northern states, and although the Christians there were promised that they would not be made subject to it, in practice they have to submit to it in certain respects. In the North the churches also suffer discrimination, in education, employment and the construction and repair of church buildings.
Various Muslim organisations, supported by wealthy Muslim nations, are engaged in a determined programme of Islamic mission. They offer economic development on a large scale, typically assisting only Muslims or those who will convert to Islam. They also build mosques, establish Islamic schools and colleges, train imams and evangelists, and make Islamic texts available in African languages. Many of the churches are poorly equipped to counter this strategy.
Pray that the deadly violence that has blighted the life of Christian communities in Nigeria in recent years and especially in 2010 will not be repeated in 2011. Pray that local authorities and police, whose interventions have sometimes made matters worse for the Christians, will take action to bring the perpetrators to justice. Pray that the increasing influence of militant Islamist groups in the North of the country will be checked and reversed, and that Christians will not be made subject to sharia. Pray too that the Lord will equip His people to withstand the enticements of Muslim missionaries and remain faithful to Him.
Barnabas Aid projects in Nigeria include:
- Nigeria General Fund (Ref. 39-970)
- Christian nursery/primary school in Muslim-majority area (Ref. 39-917)
This article is taken from
“Praying for the Persecuted Church in Lent 2011” - order your FREE copy here.