Niger: Churches Destroyed in Muslim Mob Attack But Bible Survives
Posted by addisethiopia on January 30, 2015
Neal and Danette Childs knew they were in danger.
From their compound in Niger’s capital city they could see three churches burning. The smoke was filling their home.
“We immediately started packing a trunk, putting in our valuables, our documents, and we loaded up the car,” Neal told me. “There were concerns our family would be targeted.”
The Childs family had every reason to be alarmed. A rampaging mob was attacking Christian houses of worship, and Neal was the prominent leader of a Christian ministry in the mostly Muslim country.
“Our immediate response — there is that little bit of panic,” he said during a telephone conversation from the West African nation of Niger. “We were ready. We were on guard.”
It was Jan. 16 and by the week’s end Muslims had set fire to at least 45 churches and looted the homes of a number of Christian ministers. Ten people were killed. Followers of Christ fled for the lives.
The protests were over the cartoons lampooning the Prophet Muhammad that were published by the French magazine Charlie Hebdo.
The horrors of that weekend did not generate all that much press coverage. There were no solidarity marches for Niger’s tiny Christian community. There was no wall-to-wall cable news coverage. Nor could I find any mention of the burnings on the White House website.
The New York Times published a dispatch from Reuters that appeared sympathetic to the mob. The story included quotes from a Muslim explaining why they were angry — but there were no quotes from the Christian victims.
Likewise, USA Today’s coverage lacked any commentary from pastors or priests. But they did find an imam who reminded the newspaper’s readers that the Islamic faith is peaceful.
“Don’t forget that Islam is against violence,” he told USA Today as the ruins of 45 Christian churches smoldered across the nation.
But the story of what really happened during that terrifying weekend deserves to be told. And it needs to be heard.
The following day Neal and his wife ventured outside to survey the ruins of the church house.
“It was still smoking and warm with ashes,” he told me. “As we were looking through the rubble my wife came across the Bible.”
The Bible was charred but not destroyed, and it caused a stirring in the hearts of the Christian couple.
“It was an emotional moment as you see your church in ashes,” Neal said.
At least 10 Christians from Nigeria including a pastor had died after being thrown overboard a Spain-bound boat because they prayed during the journey
The pastor and his fellow victims who were travelling from Morocco began to pray fervently for a better weather to save their boat from sinking after the sea became stormy.
Some of the survivors who probably did not join in the prayers disclosed in December 2014 that the two Muslim Cameroonians blamed the pastor and his Christian followers for causing the raging storm and pushed them all overboard in the middle of their prayers.
According to Sky News, the police became suspicious of the duo following the fearful attitudes of the survivors towards them after they arrived in Spain.
The police who confirmed the incident, “The detainees blamed the bad weather on the Nigerians who were praying and used the boards that covered the bottom of the boat to assault and throw overboard the pastor and the other Nigerian passengers.