US award for Nigerian imam who saved over 260 Christians
By Abisola Olasupo | 18 July 2019 | 11:39 am
The United States has conferred Religious Freedom Award on Imam Abdullahi Abubakar, who saved over 200 Christians during an attack from suspected herdsmen in Plateau State.
The first-ever International Religious Freedom Awards ceremony was hosted by Secretary Pompeo on Wednesday in the United States. The award honours extraordinary advocates of religious freedom from around the world.
Abubakar received the award alongside Mohamed Yosaif Abdalrahan (Sudan), Ivanir dos Santos (Brazil), William and Pascale Warda (Iraq )and Salpy Eskidjian Weiderud (Cyprus).
“Imam Abdullahi’s courage in the face of imminent danger and his history of outreach across religious divides demonstrates his lifelong commitment to promoting interfaith understanding and peace,” US State Department said in a brief profile of the imam published on its website.
The 84years old Chief Imam of Nghar village in Gashish District in Plateau State was widely hailed after he hid some would-be victims of herdsmen violence in his mosque on June 23, 2018.
Abubakar hid the women in his house and after that, took the men into the mosque and hid them there. The assailants, however, caught up with the Imam, forcefully demanding that he release those who were Christians in the mosque.
But the cleric said he deceived the bandits that all those in the mosque were Muslims and upon hearing this, the attackers left him and continued with their killing elsewhere.
In a tweet in May, the US Embassy in Nigeria said it awarded Abubakar the Nigerian Star, “in recognition of achievement and service to Nigeria and Nigerians.”
The Embassy described the Imam as a “peace builder” who put his “faith into action” by securing the lives of people of other religions