The Nigerian imam who saved over 300 Christians last month revealed reasons behind his heroic act.
In an interview with The Punch, Abubakar Abdullahi said that Islamic teachings that call for religious co-existence and tolerance were the main motives for saving hundreds of Christians during a recent attack in the central Plateau State.
When about 300 armed men started shooting sporadically and burning down homes on Saturday the 23rd of June, Abdullahi hid over 300 people, mostly Christians, inside a mosque saving their lives during the attack.
The 83-year-old imam said he was inspired to help the fleeing residents because of the relationship of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) with people of different faith backgrounds.
“He preached to Christians, pagans and idol worshipers. He had a cordial and peaceful relationship with everybody regardless of their religion,” Abdullahi said.
“I gambled with my life because there was every tendency for them to attack me,” Abdullahi said. “I was threatened, and my life was in danger, I even fell down because of the confusion. But because they saw that I am an old man, they left me and went elsewhere.”
The Muslim imam called for tolerance and co-existence among people of different religions and ethnicities.
“I have never experienced such a terrible situation as this in my life. The recent ugly incident is unprecedented,” he said.
“What you don’t like, don’t do it to other persons,” Abdullahi said.
“Religion is between individuals and God. Nobody has any certificate to go to heaven. Nobody is licensed to take the life of another person,” he added.
“We should learn to value human lives, don’t tamper with my life, I won’t tamper with your life. If you value human life, you won’t have the mind to kill somebody.”
On June 30, the brave Muslim imam was invited by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari for a handshake and a national honor to commend his role in sheltering and protecting Christians during attacks that took place in Nghar Yelwa village, central Nigeria.