Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo honored a Muslim Nigerian Imam for protecting over 262 Christians who would likely have been killed if it weren’t for his intervention.
Privileged to present five extraordinary #religiousfreedom advocates with the @StateDept’s first-ever #IRFAwards today. Their heroic efforts to build bridges & protect vulnerable religious minorities, often at their own personal risk, are an inspiration to us all. pic.twitter.com/SxJI9XQZYT
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) July 18, 2019
Last year a group of “ethnic Fulani herdsmen, who are predominantly Muslim, launched coordinated attacks on 10 villages in Barkin Ladi, killing hundreds of ethnic Berom farmers, who are predominantly Christian,” the State Department wrote on their website.
When Imam Abubakar Abdullahi heard gunshots, he and his congregation ushered Christians outside of his Mosque inside and into his nearby home. When the gunmen came to his temple, he pleaded with the herdsmen to spare the lives of the Christians — even offering to give his own life for their protection.
While the invaders killed 84 people in the village that day, his ability to see the human dignity of people across religious lines saved hundreds of lives.
These are the first ever International Religious Freedom awards given out by the Trump Administration. It is a welcome step forward for Christian-Muslim relations and interfaith dialogue — and for the Trump administration, whose checkered history on the issue is no secret.