By Judi McLeod
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Googling the name Christianah Oluwatoyin Olusase brought no hits 3:30 p.m., yesterday.
Christianah, a Christian teacher at Government Day Secondary School in Gombe state, North Nigeria was torn apart, limb-by-limb, by a mob of Muslim students on March 21, 2007.
Details about Christianah's life are scarce. We do know that her life was dedicated to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We don't know how long she taught at Government Day Secondary School, her age, or who are the loved ones prostrated by grief.
The information of her death comes from Compass Direct. And were it not for The Persecution & Prayer Alert, The Voice of the Martyrs Canada, Christianah's passing would otherwise have gone unnoted.
The details of Christianah's death are shocking.
Christianah was supervising an all-girl class while they were taking an Islamic Religious Knowledge examination, a routine job by any teacher's standards the world over.
In accordance to school procedure, the homeroom teacher collected papers, books and bags before the exam papers were passed around. She left them in front of the class for pupils to retrieve later.
One of the girls responded by starting to cry and was soon telling her classmates that there had been a copy of the Quran in her bag left in front of the classroom.
The girl claimed that because Christianah was a Christian, she had desecrated the Quran by touching it.
The students began to chant in unison, "Allahu Akbar" (God is Great)". These school age girls then beat, stoned and clubbed Christiania to death where she stood.
The deed done, the girls then dragged her corpse outside of the school building and burned it.
There were no flowers or cards left at the burial site as sometimes happens in the outpouring of grief in western culture. No candle vigils were held for Christianah. In fact, it is not even known if her loved ones will be able to give her a decent burial.
There was no outrage of the teacher's horrific death in any western media, still busy these days following the life and times of the late Anna Nichole Smith.
What happened on March 21, 2007 is life for Christian believers in Nigeria.
On June 28, 2006 another Muslim mob in the town of Izom in the Nigerian state of Niger first overwhelmed police, then clubbed a woman to death for participating in street evangelism. The murdered woman was reported to be between 18 and 20 years of age.
Unidentified--even in death--the woman had met with a group of Muslim youth outside of the Jumat Mosque in Izom and shared the gospel with them, leaving with those who would take them some printed tracts to read.
When Muslim leaders learned what she had been doing, they were outraged, claiming that she had insulted Islam and Mohammed. A death decree was placed on her head and posses of hundreds of Muslims went out on the hunt for her.
When they found the woman, they seized her and began to beat her, but police took her into protective custody. The mob threatened to take down the police station if she wasn't turned over to them. Then as police tried to smuggle her out a back door, they were caught. The police fled the scene and the woman was seized again, clubbed and stoned to death. At least two police officers were injured in the attack. Several arrests were made and the investigation is on going.
Then there's the case of the missing students.
Two Christian female students from the Ahmadu Bello University in Kaduna State, Nigeria went missing after they were severely beaten by seven Muslim women in their own dormitory on March 18, 2006.
The two students, Joy and Priscilla, were preparing to bathe when the seven students, veiled in Islamic robes, attacked them. They were harassed, intimidated flogged and left unconscious.
Compass Direct reports that the two were taken to the university clinic and have not been seen since.
Because of the attack, the university closed its doors for a period of two weeks. During that time, the university took action against the Muslim Students' Society by removing their leadership for failing to maintain control. According to the Daily Trust news service, when the university reopened on March 28, 2006 there was added security and each student had to sign a pledge to maintain peace and obey the university's rules and regulations. The university has promised to investigate the attack and punish the Muslim women.
"Nigeria is strongly divided between Christian and Islam," says The Voice of Martyrs in its Country Report. "Statistics differ whether there are more adherents to Islam or Christianity in the nation as a whole. Northern Nigeria is predominantly Muslim and several of the states have adopted Sharia law for all civil cases.
"In areas controlled by Muslims, Christians frequently face opposition. Churches have been burned and Christians killed in riots. In February of 2005, the predominantly Christian village of Demsa, Adamawa in northern Nigeria was attacked. According to Compass Direct, 36 Christians were killed and their property destroyed. About 3,000 survivors fled to a neighboring state. Also, for the fourth time in five years, the Conquerors Chapel of the World of Faith Ministries in Kaduna, Nigeria, was destroyed by fire on April 10, 2005. The attacks began after Sharia law was introduced in Kaduna State in 2000."
No blossoms or candles mark the graves of either Christianah Oluwatoyin Olusase in Gombe state, or the unidentified woman stoned to death in Izom.
By cruel circumstance both women died lonely deaths, and remain lonely in death.
But prayers from the heart are more lasting than any flower or flame.
The Voice of the Martyrs asks you to "pray for peace and strength for Christians facing opposition from Muslims in Nigeria."
God protect all Christians in Muslim nations everywhere.