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As Christians in Nigeria continue to suffer violent attacks  at the hands of Islamic extremists, they are also facing official opposition as  the authorities enforce an Islamist agenda in a number of states.

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In Kano state, sharia law is being imposed on all citizens,  including Christians. Islamic police are deploying 10,000 officers to ensure  that rules regarding “indecent dress” and gender mixing are enforced.

They are particularly targeting rickshaw taxi drivers; these  tend to be young men who wear shorts and sleeveless T-shirts, which are  considered to breach the dress rules. Drivers who carry men and women together  in their vehicles will also face arrest.

Nine of Nigeria’s 37 states have introduced sharia law since  2000, but they interpret it differently and impose it to various degrees of  strictness. Three other states have introduced sharia only for Muslims who want  to use it in matters of family law.

In Borno state, the authorities have announced a plan to  demolish 25 churches and Christian schools, ostensibly to make room for new  housing. But no development plans have been produced, and Christian leaders  believe that this is actually another attempt to persecute the Christian  minority.

The Rev. Musa Asake, General Secretary of the Christian  Association of Nigeria, said:

There are other places where the state government can  develop. The areas earmarked for demolition are already developed with churches  and schools. Christians have already suffered enough in Borno state.

He also questioned a strategy in Osun state in south-western  Nigeria, where Christians are a majority and are not currently subjected to Islamist  violence, to mix Muslim students with their Christian counterparts in  missionary schools. Dr Asake said that this was part of a grand plan by the  state governor to Islamise Osun and systematically silence Christians.

Deadly violence

Christians in Northern Nigeria and the Middle Belt continue  to suffer merciless violence at the hands of militant Islamist group Boko Haram  and other Muslim extremists.

One of the worst-affected towns this year has been Kafanchan  in Kaduna state. A senior church leader told Barnabas Aid that Kafanchan has  “become a theatre of ethno-religious crisis… which has led to the untimely  death of many innocent people and destruction of properties worth billions of  naira (currency of Nigeria)”. He said that it had “been engineered and  perpetrated by the Muslim community whose agenda is to dominate the area and  rule the larger population of Christians”.

The violence broke out in March, prompting church leaders to  issue a cry for help to the authorities. But they initially failed to provide  protection, and attacks against Christians have continued almost unabated.  Around 100 have been killed, over 500 homes destroyed and more than 10,000  people displaced.

Nigeria persecutedThe church leader described a number of recent incidents. A  Christian man named Asa Zakka was brutally murdered in a machete attack on 16  September. Two Christians who were attacked with machetes three days earlier  were badly injured but survived. On 24-25 September, the Christian residents of  Tajak were forced to flee their homes as armed Fulani Muslim herdsmen laid  siege to the village; a number of properties were burnt down (pictured).

The church leader said that the crisis came to a critical  point last month and that the security forces worked hard to bring the  situation under control by imposing a curfew on Kafanchan. He said that this had proven effective in preventing further planned violence, and he commended  their efforts.

Barnabas Aid

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One small voice cries out for the Persecuted Church. More than 100,000,000 Christians around the world are at risk of persecution. It has become one of the worst humanitarian crises on the planet, today! It is ”a crisis point in history” that can no longer be overlooked, or millions more will suffer! Sadly it’s a crisis that not enough people realize exists. Unfortunately the western media rarely reports the extreme persecution inflicted on our Christian brothers and sisters, worldwide. We are called by our God to stand up for all who are destitute, to remember the prisoners as if imprisoned ourselves and to be a VOICE for the persecuted Church! Join us, we CAN make a difference! For the latest news, information and updates, follow us at www.voiceofthepersecuted.org