Abdullahi Abubakar Conferred Inaugural USA Religious Freedom Award

The United States of America has conferred Religious Freedom Award on Imam Abdullahi Abubakar, who saved over 200 Christians during an attack from suspected herdsmen in Plateau State.

Abubakar received the award alongside Mohamed Yosaif Abdalrahan (Sudan), Ivanir dos Santos (Brazil), William and Pascale Warda (Iraq) and Salpy Eskidjian Weiderud (Cyprus).

The first-ever International Religious Freedom Awards ceremony was hosted by Secretary Pompeo on the 17th of July 2019 in the United States of America. The award honours extraordinary advocates of religious freedom from around the world.

According to the USA State Department:

“Imam Abdullahi’s courage in the face of imminent danger and his history of outreach across religious divides demonstrates his lifelong commitment to promoting interfaith understanding and peace.”

The 84 years old Chief Imam of Nghar village in Gashish District in Plateau State was widely hailed after he hid some would-be victims of herdsmen violence in his mosque on June 23, 2018.

Abubakar hid the women in his house and after that, took the men into the mosque and hid them there. The assailants, however, caught up with the Imam, forcefully demanding that he release those who were Christians in the mosque.

But the cleric said he deceived the bandits that all those in the mosque were Muslims and upon hearing this, the attackers left him and continued with their killing elsewhere.

In a tweet in May, the US Embassy in Nigeria said it awarded Imam Abdullahi Abubakar the Nigerian Star, “in recognition of achievement and service to Nigeria and Nigerians.”

The US Embassy described the Imam as a “peace builder” who put his “faith into action” by securing the lives of people of other religions.

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