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Nigeria: The Imam and the Pastor by Journeyman Pictures

14 February 2012 9 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

Pastor James Wuye and Imam Al-Shafa

Pastor James Wuye and Imam Al-Shafa

Nigeria: The Imam and the Pastor by Journeyman Pictures

In the past year Nigeria has been the scene of much religious and sectarian violence. We have commented on this violence in the past, as well as the efforts to transcend the violence through inter-faith dialogue and action, Nigerians Want to Transcend Sectarian and Ethnic Violence.

Below is a heart-warming story of a Muslim scholar and a Christian priest who both headed militias that were involved in sectarian violence but transformed themselves into peacemakers. (H/T: AMTR)

In the 1990s, Imam Ashafa and Pastor Wuye led opposing militias in Northern Nigeria. Now the men work together bridging religious conflicts between Christians and Muslims that have killed thousands.
‘My hate for the Muslims then had no limits’ states Pastor Wuye, whose militia killed Imam Ashafa’s spiritual leader and two cousins. Ashafa spent 3 years planning revenge, until one day, a sermon on forgiveness changed his life. The men met and are now working on a peace accord. Imam Ashafa explains, ‘even though we differ in some theological issues, we will make the world a safer place’.

The Imam and the Pastor:

Both Imam Ashafa and Pastor Wuye are still working hard to try to combat violence and hate. Recently they sent out an appeal for help:

NIGERIA under siege – an appeal to the global community

Today, our beloved country Nigeria is passing through a turbulent period of insecurity and desecration of places of worship and human life is no more sacred.  People are living in a state of fear and uncertainty of what would happen next.

We need the support of people of good will to salvage our nation from bloodletting, wanton destruction of lives and properties and the consequent threat to our nascent and fragile democracy and the nation’s survival.

We appeal to global citizens on behalf of widows, orphans, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and other vulnerable people who are victims of this inhumanity to support us and other peace ambassadors with relevant resources, materials that would facilitate a process of sincere dialogue to restore sanity, reconciliation and peaceful coexistence in our country, Nigeria.

Pastor Dr. James M. Wuye/Imam Dr. Muhammad N. Ashafa


  1. There are noble individuals in Nigeria, but i think there will always be a contingent of muslims who think it’s a good idea to kill non muslims, who hate and fear Christians, and who are only discouraged by some horrific retaliation such as Gujarat.

    A few years ago in Nigeria, Christians got up and killed about 700 muslims with the same indiscriminate savagery they had received from the muslims. After a ferocious retaliation, muslims are quiet for a while until yet another group assembles with the same reoccurring idea to murder the unbelievers.

    This is how societies with muslim populations descend into an exchange of massacres. Happens there, eventually will happen here. I think the solution to this lies with the muslims.

  2. It can be done . . . if we want to. No more wars, please!

  3. @Jane: Amen!

  4. How pathetic is Anon’s comment. It shows all the projection and insecurity of classic genocidal christian pathology. Let me translate his comment:

    According to him, Muslims randomly and arbitrarily kill non-Muslims as a matter of course, and the only want to stop it temporarily is to massacre a huge number of Muslims.

    He then projects Christian violence onto Muslims by mentioning TWO massacres where Muslims were the victims, while blaming the ‘indiscriminate savagery’ on Muslims themselves, as if the only way Christians and Hindus behave savagely is when Muslims teach them how.

    I spit on you, anonymous poster.

    As for the rest of you, keep a watchful eye out for this kind of BS. The BS that says “Muslims committing violence is natural to them. But when WE commit violence, we’re just acting like Muslims.”

    It shouldn’t be too hard to see through that kind of self-serving garbage, or the implied “solution” of massacring or deporting Muslims as a “treatment”.

    If you look a bit harder, you’ll see the entire narrative can easily be turned around. Christians, and Europe in particular, are very good at massacring minorities “preemptively”, to “discourage” them.

  5. Hassan, you tell me, you are the muslim. In several muslim countries, Nigeria among them, muslim mobs are allowed to kill non muslims with impunity. No one seems able to control these vicious mobs and those who supposedly run the religion, imams, mullahs, etc. egg them on.

    Laws are passed to stomp on non muslims. Malaysia just passed legislation declaring indigenous peoples as non citizens having no rights. Chinese are fleeing due to restrictions placed on them. Copts flee Egypt.

    All this murder and mayhem and discrimination are legal in some muslim systems.

    Now why is that? What weakness in law or custom allows this to go on?

    And yes, it seems to me that only a horrific counter massacre quells the insanity temporarily. All this been going on for years, ever since I was a child i have been hearing this stuff.

    Separate church and state, as the Christians did in order to have peace and sanity in society.

  6. The 2 massacres I mentioned Hassan, were retaliation for muslims burning a train full of people in Godhra and a massacre of Christians by Nigerian muslims.

    Muslims have difficulty thinking of themselves as the instigators of violence and think they have the right to kill their neighbor because the laws are so weak in some places that they DO have the right to kill their neighbors.

    Recently in Nigeria people were killed because a Christian president was elected and the muslims couldn’t stand it.

  7. This is from, by Ryan:

    Boko Haram..

    They call themselves in elaborate Arabic, The Community of Sunni People for the Propagation [of the Faith] and for the Struggle (Jihad).

    Boko Haram adherents bear a strong family resemblance to the more radical elements in the Nigerian Muslim Students’ Society who for at least three decades have repudiated the secular status of Nigeria’s federal government and the majority of its state governments.

    Ryan concludes by saying he had lunch with some very nice muslims the other day. That is not the point. There are nice people all over the place. They are not biting the snake in the head. They are not even biting it in the tail…

  8. Another quote from the same site:

    It’s only a tiny minority of muslims who want to fulfill the Islamic command to wage war against all infidels, everywhere, forever. The vast majority of them merely wish to scold us for noticing.

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