Nigeria has seen a sharp increase in Islamic extremism recently.
December has been a particularly violent month: on December 11, twin car combs killed more than 30 people in the city of Jos. The attacks were blamed on the extremist group Boko Haram and were seen as an effort to ignite violence between Christians and Muslims in the area.
Then, on December 14, a group of Islamist mercenaries and a number of Muslim herdsmen raided villages in the Nigerian state of Benue, killing five Christians.
So as Christmas approached, many Nigerian Christians feared that they would be targeted for celebrating the holiday. But not all the Muslims in Nigeria approve of the violent extremism.
On Christmas day, a group of more than 200 Muslim youth showed up to protect Christians attending a church service in the city of Kaduna, located about 100 miles north of Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja.
Pastor Yohanna Buru, a cleric at the Christ Evangelical Church in Kaduna, confirmed the reports during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday, December 26.
Buru told the NAN that he believed the Muslim youths’ act of selflessness was an effort to promote peace between Muslims and Christians in the area, and expressed happiness and gratitude for the protection the young Muslims provided to his congregation on Christmas day.
“I really appreciate their love and care,”
Buru told the NAN.
During the Christmas service, the pastor prayed that God would bring peace to the region and that others would emulate the gesture of solidarity between the two religions.
He also urged Nigerians to learn to live in peace with one another, regardless of their ethnic or religious differences.
Read the original report from the News Agency of Nigeria.