Religion Today | Thursday, May 30, 2013
A Nigerian pastor who was arrested for harboring girls fleeing forced Islamization and forced marriage has been released on bail, Open Doors USA reports. Last month, the pastor was arrested and charged with kidnapping after three girls ages 15, 12 and 10 sought refuge at his house. Trouble started when the father of the girls converted to Islam. Although his wife followed him into Islam, his daughters refused to do the same. Their father gave them a week to change their minds, but before the week was over, all three girls had fled their village and sought refuge at the pastor's house, fearing forced marriage to Muslim men. The girls were moved to an undisclosed safe location, but a Muslim youth spotted the girls at the pastor's house and reported to the family. Police in Bauchi arrested the pastor, charged him with kidnapping and sent him to prison, though police found no evidence to prove his guilt. After three hearings, the pastor was granted bail on condition that he report to the police station daily until the final hearing. The girls remain at the safe location, and Open Doors has been informed that they feel safe and comfortable. Forced Islamization and forced marriage have become common methods whereby Muslims work to forcefully eradicate Christianity from northern Nigeria. Open Doors' World Watch Unit confirms that in 2012, Christian girls faced serious threats of abduction and forceful marriage. In Kano, for instance, a house was located where over 40 Christian girls were abducted, Islamized and many married off to Muslims. Open Doors field experts say that some of the sharia states even have established ministries for the abducting and converting of Christian girls.