Attacking Christians?

I have always believed in, and respected the rights of every human being, as I expect my rights to be respected. Though I treat all basic human rights as the same, I am partial to the rights to life, freedom, dignity of person and freedom of thought, conscience, religion, opinion and expression. I believe in the fundamental principle that my rights should not impinge on another’s and vice versa. You can imagine why the list I am about to make is seriously bugging me.      1.     BRIDGET AGBAHEME: Bridget was a 47 year old Igbo woman living in Kano who was attacked in front of her shop in Kofar Wambai, beaten to death and paraded around the streets. Bridget was married to Pastor Mike Agbaheme, who is a senior Pastor with Deeper Life Bible Church. She was a mother of one. This happened on June 2, 2016. Her offense: allegedly insulting Prophet Muhammad      2.     REVEREND JOSEPH ZACHARIAH KURAH: was a 47 year old senior cleric with Evangelical Church of West Africa or ECWA as it is popularly called. He was killed by two people in Obi Local Government area of Nassarawa state. He was on his way to inspect a roofing project when he was killed. The chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Nassarawa state chapter, said the Reverend was attacked and dismembered, with his two hands cut off so he could bleed to death. The date of this incident? June 30, 2016. His offense: unknown      3.     FRANCIS EMMANUEL: is a 41 year old carpenter who works in Kakuri, Kaduna state. He went to buy wood and on his return, bought food to eat. As soon as he started eating, some hoodlums approached him and asked if he was a Muslim or Christian. He did not respond. Another asked why he was eating during Ramadan. He said he was not a Muslim. That statement was greeted with a slap. This was followed by being pounced on and stabbed multiple times. His Offense: eating during Ramadan.      4.     EUNICE OLAWALE: was a 42 year old deaconess with the Redeemed Christian Church of GOD, Kubwa, Abuja. She was married to a senior Pastor of the same church and had a routine of setting off in the morning to preach to her community; in what was called ‘Morning Cry’. She told her husband she had been threatened around a mosque one day and after promising to be cautious, she went out on the 10th day of July, 2016, at about 5: 30am. She never returned home. Her body was found with her throat slit and her head resting on the Bible she used to preach. She was a mother of 7 children. Her offense: preaching in her community.      5.     THREE PEOPLE: The Independent Nigeria reported that three men in Niger state were, like the case of Bridget, accused of blaspheming against Islam and were summarily executed by their self-appointed judge, jury and executioner. Their names were not released, hence the broad category. Their offense: allegedly blaspheming against Islam.      6.     CATHOLIC CHURCH ATTACK: the most recent attack happened on the 16th of July, 2016. Thisday Newspaper reported that a group of Muslim youth attacked St. Philips Catholic Parish,Baki Iku, close to Zuma rock in Niger state. It was also reported that the security men and resident Seminarian were beaten to a pulp and women who had gone for prayers were chased away. Properties of the church were destroyed and the community was in shock. This attack reportedly happened after the Juma’at prayers. The youth reportedly said Friday was their day of prayer and that the Christians only had one day to pray, which is Sunday. The church’s offense: praying on a Friday All these incidents happened in the space of less than two months. Taken individually, they can be seen as unrelated and unconnected but looking at them as a whole, one cannot help but see the connection between these events; radical ideology. When you add the recent killing in Benue, Jos and Taraba from herdsmen, the connection seem clearer. In most of these cases, the attackers have called themselves Muslims and have based their actions on what they have interpreted from the Qur’an. Some might even call it righteous indignation at a perceived slight to Islam and her tenets but is that reason enough to take the lives of people and destroy properties? And in such gruesome manner? It is disheartening to see the continual wanton disregard for human life on the guise of upholding religious beliefs. Each person is entitled to hold whatever belief they choose to have, without fear of repercussion from those who do not share their beliefs. The extrajudicial ways these cases have been handled makes me wonder if there was no better way to handle the situation. If the people above had blasphemed against Islam in one way or another, couldn’t they have been taken to court? And if the conventional courts were not good enough, couldn’t they have been taken to a Sharia court? The problem is, with every case of jungle justice, just few of the killers are caught and the majority would continue live their lives, waiting for the next perceived offense to unleash their inner hulks and kill another person. This then brings back the question of whether the lives of Christians, especially Christians in Northern Nigeria, are considered less human. Governor Nasir ElRufai of Kaduna state was quick to respond to the attack on Francis Emmanuel, saying that the state wouldn’t tolerate religious intolerance of any form. I applaud his resolve to protecting the lives of citizens of his state and that is something worth emulating. The Supreme Council for Sharia, Kaduna state chapter, also responded by saying it was un-Islamic to attack people for not fasting. Nationally, the President reacted to some of the killings but is that enough? Is there more the president should be doing? My belief

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