It had taken only a few hours for hundreds of radical Muslims to destroy several Christian homes and dozens of churches in Niamey Niger. Ten people died and many were injured when the angry mob spread rampage in early January.
Three months down the line, Christians in the areas are trying to move on and are determined to preach the gospel amid all the threats and dangers to their existence in the areas.
Pasto Musa Issa is a local pastor and he has shown never before seen videos of dozens of angry Muslims attacking his area and church, to an international news agency exclusively. His reminiscences of the day are described in his words, “”They took pews, Bibles, chairs and sound equipment then set them on fire, they did this while chanting, ‘Allahu Akbar!’ I felt so sad. I started to cry.” It happened January 17; just 10 days after two Muslim terrorists stormed the offices of French magazine Charlie Hebdo, executing 12 people for publishing satirical images of the Islam’s Prophet Mohammed.
Pastor Issa had spent years building the church and it was all gone within minutes. Pastor Zakaria Jadi’s home and church was also destroyed in the same attacks. The mob kept chanting over and over in Arabic ‘God is great!’ God is great’ as they robbed and burned my home. I’ve lived with Muslims all my life. I know a Muslim when he stands in front of me!” Jadi said. The Nigerian government is in attempts to rebuild churches and schools in the area. The spirit of forgiveness in the local is immense.
Pastor Jadi’s wife, holding her burnt Bible said she had forgiven those who did this heinous act. “My prayer is that they would come to know Jesus and that the Lord would touch them even in a dream. I want God to do to them what He did to Paul the Apostle when he persecuted Christians. God touched him on his way to Damascus. I want those men to experience the same touch from God!” she said. That is Pastor Issa’s prayer, too. Today he spends time developing closer friendships with several of his Muslim neighbors who actually fought back as the mob destroyed the church and his home.
“When the first and second wave of rioters came, some of my Muslim neighbors stood in front of the church. But as more rioters attacked with deadlier weapons, it become too dangerous – so I told them to let them in,” Issa said.