Global News - Redeem the Oppressed

Fanatics burn Houses And Stores Of Christians Over Allegations Of Blasphemy In Nigeria

Religious fanatics set fire six houses and stores belonging to Christians. This recent episode of religion based persecution unfolded in Nigeria’s town Katanga in Bauchi state. The arson left at least 20 people injured. The arson was incited over allegations of blasphemy.

Reports reveal that a local Christian woman Rhoda Jatau was accused of making a blasphemous comment online. 40-year-old Jatau works as a medical staff member. A band of incited Muslim youth, were looking for Jatau therefore to punish her for the alleged blasphemy. The arson badly damaged six houses and seven stores belonging to Christians. Jatau had lived in this town, but she was able to make a hasty escape prior to the attack.

While speaking about this incident, a local pastor Reverend Jibrin Nababa Warji, confirmed to an international media outfit Morning Star News that, “It is unfortunate and tragic, as many Christians have been forced to flee the town to other areas of Bauchi state. Many displaced Christians are currently staying at the Nigeria Air Force Base.” Nigeria has witnessed an alarming rise in blasphemy accusations and thereafter extrajudicial killings in past few weeks. Last month, a Christian college student Deborah Emmanuel was stoned to death over alleged blasphemy accusations. The accusations also catalyzed burning of three churches this month, after two men involved in killing Deborah were arrested.

Rev. Joseph John Hayab, vice-president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Northern Nigeria Chapter, said that charges of blasphemy are leveled against Christians oftentimes to justify the attacks on Christians. “We know and have evidence of how some of these allegations of blasphemy are false and just for blackmail or settling scores with perceived enemies or well-mannered young girls who have refused sexual advances by the opposite sex from another religion. We are also aware of how fanatics have in the past raised lies in the name of blasphemy.” 

By Farrukh Saif

Farrukh Saif is a Pakistani human rights activist based in Germany. He founded his own organization, the Farrukh Saif Foundation (FSF), in 2009 with the goal of supporting marginalized and oppressed minorities in Pakistan who are affected by religious discrimination, blasphemy laws, forced conversions, abductions, rape, and bonded slavery. The main focus of the FSF is on the liberation of bonded laborers, particularly those working in brick kilns in rural areas of Pakistan. In 2018, the FSF merged with the US-based Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved. Throughout his career, Farrukh has been a leading voice for the rights of minorities in Pakistan and has gained international attention for his campaigns against the misuse of blasphemy laws and the belief that asylum is not a crime. In 2014, he played a key role in the release of hundreds of asylum seekers from Thai jails and has worked with his legal team to save numerous victims of strict blasphemy laws in Pakistan. Farrukh has also been invited by the Hungarian government to discuss his work and the issues he addresses. In addition to his work with the FSF, Farrukh has also been involved in various other humanitarian efforts, including providing health care services to internally displaced persons in Khayber Pakhtoon Khawa in 2009 and assisting flood victims in Sindh and Punjab in 2010. He has worked to aid victimized minorities in Pakistan and has a strong track record of successfully advocating for their rights. Farrukh joined forces with Keith Davies in 2018 to co-found the Emergency Committee to Save The Persecuted and Enslaved, and since 2009, they have collectively successfully rescued more than 36000 individuals from slavery and persecution.