Nigerian Christians Vow to Gather and Worship on Christmas Day Despite Terrorist Threats

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As Christians in the United States celebrate Christmas with decorations, presents, and feasts, their brethren in Nigeria will celebrate differently on Tuesday. Nigerian believers will gather at churches to commemorate the birth of Christ with a holiday service.

And they'll risk their lives doing it.

Violence marred the last two Christmases in Nigeria as the Muslim terrorist group Boko Haram targeted Christians in shootings and bombings at churches, homes, and shopping areas in central and northern Nigeria. Dozens have died each year in the attacks, including 37 fatalities in a Christmas Day bombing last year at St. Theresa Catholic Church outside the country's capital, Abuja.

During his recent visit to Washington, D.C., I asked Musa Asake, general secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), if the violence of the last two years would keep people from gathering at churches on Dec. 25. He said, "Nothing will stop us from worshiping our God."

Asake, who earned his doctorate from Dallas Theological Seminary, spent six years as a pastor in Jos, a central Nigerian city of 900,000, before becoming second in command at CAN earlier this year. CAN has chapters in all 36 Nigerian states, and Asake said in January he plans to start a database of Boko Haram's attacks on Christians--although he hopes he won't have anything to track.

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SOURCE: WORLD Mag
J.C. Derrick
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