Running from the attacks by the Muslim herdsmen, 262 Christians fled and found refuge in central Nigeria in a Muslim Ceric’s home and mosque, who is now being honored for showing “true brotherly love” to them.
On June 23, 2018, Christians farmers in 10 villages were under attack, but luckily they found relief when 83-year-old Imam Abubakar Abdullahi, provided shelter and didn’t give them up to the attackers, according to CNN.
On Wednesday, during the first-ever International Religious Freedom Awards ceremony held by the Department of State, International Religious Freedom Ambassador Sam Brownback stated that while giving the hundreds of Christians refuge, Abdullahi “stood outside the doors confronting the Muslim attackers, pleading with them to spare the lives of the Christians inside, even offering to exchange his own life for theirs.”
Brownback labeled the actions one’s of “true courage, true selflessness, and true brotherly love.”
At the ceremony, which “[honors] extraordinary advocates of religious freedom,” Abdullahi was honored with the International Religious Freedom Award — who was able to attend the event — along with several other religious leaders. The four others that were honored with an award were from Sudan, Cyprus, Brazil, and Iraq.
“Your presence here underscores the fact that faith matters — the right to worship, to assemble, to practice, and to teach one’s faith is undeniable,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the attending crowd at the ceremony. “We have a responsibility as civilized people who care about freedom, to protect it in every way that we can.”
As the U.S. Department of State describes the Muslim cleric in their press release, he “selflessly risked his own life to save members of another religious community, who would have likely been killed without his intervention.”