83-year-old Muslim cleric, Imam Abubakar Abdullahi has been honored by the US government with the 2019 International Religious Freedom Award–given to advocates of religious freedom–for his unbiased feat in hiding 262 Christians in his home and mosque during an attack in central Nigeria.
He was honored alongside four religious leaders from Sudan, Iraq, Brazil and Cyprus.
Abdullahi was recognized for providing shelter for hundreds of Christians fleeing attacks from Muslim herdsmen who had launched coordinated attacks on Christian farmers in 10 villages in the Barkin Ladi area of Plateau State on June 23, 2018, the award organizers said in a statement.
The cleric refused to give them up when their attackers asked about their whereabouts, International Religious Freedom Ambassador Sam Brownback said at the awards ceremony in Washington on Wednesday.
“The imam gave refuge to his Christian neighbors, sheltering 262 Christians in his mosque and his home…. then stood outside the doors confronting the Muslim attackers, pleading with them to spare the lives of the Christians inside, even offering to exchange his own life for theirs,” Brownback said.
“His actions bear witness to true courage, true selflessness, and true brotherly love