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Church Attacked in Nigeria


Update: More violence in Nigeria. Gunmen open fire at Christians in town hall meeting.

From BBC

Gunmen have attacked a church in north-east Nigeria killing at least six people, the church’s pastor says.

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Johnson Jauro said the killings took place when gunmen burst into his Deeper Life Church in Gombe, capital of Gombe state.

He said his wife was among those killed. Ten other people were injured.

Nigeria has recently experienced a surge in ethnic and sectarian violence. The government declared a state of emergency in parts of the country.

“The attackers started shooting sporadically. They shot through the window of the church, and many people were killed including my wife,” Mr Jauro told Reuters news agency.

“Many members who attended the church service were also injured.”

No group said it carried out the attack, but the Islamist group Boko Haram recently carried out a string of bombings on Christmas Day, including against a church in the capital Abuja which killed dozens of people.

Earlier on Thursday, two suspected members of Boko Haram were arrested after a father and son were killed in Maiduguri in neighbouring Borno state.

Escalating violence

The wave of Islamist violence is one of the biggest problems faced by President Goodluck Jonathan

Attacks by Boko Haram have become increasingly frequent and are a major problem for the Nigerian authorities.

The wave of Islamist violence is one of the biggest problems faced by President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has vowed to “crush” the group.

Several northern states surrounding Gombe have had their borders sealed off under the state of emergency declared by Mr Jonathan following the Christmas bombings.

Boko Haram is fighting to create an Islamic state and wants to impose Sharia law across Nigeria.

Followers of Boko Haram believe any political or social activity associated with Western values should be banned.

This includes voting in elections, wearing shirts and trousers and receiving a secular education.

Boko Haram regards the Nigerian state as being run by non-believers and this was the case even when the country had a Muslim president.

In unrelated violence on Sunday, at least 50 people died in the eastern state of Ebony in clashes between two ethnic groups over a land dispute


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Waleed Ahmed writes on current affairs, politics and religion for MuslimMatters. His work focuses on Muslim minorities, human rights, culture and international conflicts. Currently based out of Montreal, he holds a Ph.D. in particle physics from McGill University. Waleed also has a keen interest in studying Arabic and French. He spends his spare time reading, playing basketball and praying for Jon Stewart to run in the next presidential election. contact: waleed dot ahmed at



  1. Carlos

    January 5, 2012 at 11:30 PM

    Someone needs to tell these Boko Haram militants that killing innocents is not the true way of Islam.

  2. IMRAN

    January 6, 2012 at 1:13 AM

    wow…church attacked in Nigeria. So all the way in Nigeria a church is attacked and a website run by concerned muslims who care about all creatures of God and all Abrahamic faiths show solidarity while in our own backyard and huge one for that i.e. NEW YORK CITY a mosque is attacked with a molotov cocktail and no mention of it. Wow, really amazing. And of course this message isn’t going to pass the approval of the site administrator but it doesn’t matter because this message is really for you, the site administrator.

    • Johanna

      January 6, 2012 at 1:11 PM

      A molotov cocktail thrown at a mosque is as bad as killing Christians all the time?

      Jee, what logic;(

    • Carlos

      January 6, 2012 at 5:08 PM

      Dear Imran,

      A. Two wrongs do not make a right.

      B. Denouncing one wrong does not imply approval of another wrong.

      C. The attack in Nigeria killed dozens. The attack in NYC killed nobody.

      D. The attack in Nigeria occurred on Christmas, more than two weeks ago. The attacks in NYC just occurred a few days ago. There is a delay in the editorial news cycle. (I was actually wondering when the Muslim Matters folks were going to get around to addressing the Boko Haram attacks).

      E. The attacks in Nigeria were committed by a well-organized militant network. The attack in NYC, from what I have heard so far, is by a lone wolf attacker, and an incompetent one at that.

      F. Having great empathy regarding one’s own “group” (however one defines one’s own group), to the point where one expresses resentment for displays of empathy for the “other” is called “crocodile tears.” It is a moral hypocrisy.

      I could probably make a full alphabet here, but I’ll spare you, everyone else and myself from that. I think I have made enough points here.


      • Gbolahan

        January 11, 2012 at 2:37 AM

        Hi Carlos,

        While not playing down the importance of this Christmas day bombing, it is important to note that it is the double standard/Injustice of the Nigerian Press, international media and the Nigerian Government that has continued to allow these gory killings.

        The christmas day bombing(if by the BH group) was probably a response to Eid day Massacre in Jos, this massacre didnt even get a front page in Nigeria nor the did government even acknowledge it. See links below and

        Well I guess since it wasn’t on a Christmas day,it would be too much to expect the NYtimes, Washington Post or CNN to report it.

        Carlos, more Muslims died on that day than the Christmas day bombing, even the victims of the Christmas day bombing had a chance to be buried, our guys were eaten and cannibalised.

        Carlos, I really hope you enjoy viewing the vids and I would like to hear your comments after.

    • Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

      January 10, 2012 at 3:55 AM

      Dear Imran

      We try and best to cover what we can. We are always open to submissions from our readers and adding more people to our writing staff. It would be great to get a guest submission from you on the attack on the NY Mosque. Please send it to Info [at] muslimmatters [dot] org.


  3. Ahmad

    January 6, 2012 at 7:22 AM

    This is just another conspiracy to increase the tension & animosity among Nigerians by imperial Foreign governments with the help of greedy and wicked Nigerians,which will lead to a protracted and disastrous outcome. Nigerians irrespective of their religious beliefs and ethnicity need each other to progress. Iraq and Pakistan are good example for the wise..

    Ya Rabb protect us from the Evil doers

    • Carlos

      January 7, 2012 at 12:27 AM

      Seriously, Ahmad? You are blaming this on “imperial Foreign governments with the help of greedy and wicked Nigerians?” Seriously? Please, do explain.

  4. Ahmad

    January 6, 2012 at 8:32 AM

    @ Carlos
    They are not Muslims, they are agents of destruction. Please, check the history of Boko Haram and their former known leader Yusuf whom the security agents killed in Bornu. He was arrested on several occasions in the past but bailed out by a Former Nigerian military head of state Yakubu Gowan and the christian Association of Nigeria!!! don’t ask why

    • Carlos

      January 7, 2012 at 12:29 AM

      It’s a conspiracy!

  5. Umm Sulaim

    January 6, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    Islam is only being used as a pawn. It is more cultural than religious.

    Umm Sulaim

  6. fatima

    January 6, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    assalam alaikum,
    i’m nigerian and things are not necessarily as they seem
    May Allah help us see the truth,and protect us all ameen.

    • Jeremiah

      January 7, 2012 at 9:23 AM

      Wa alaikum as salam, jazakillahu khairan for the link.

  7. Halima

    January 6, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    This is disgusting.

  8. Lai

    January 6, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    In our very own backyard….just in case readers were too busy reading about the church attack- this happened in Canada
    from CTV news
    “Gatineau, Que., mosque attacked again; spray-painted slurs spark hate crime call
    Thursday, January 05, 2012 2:6 PM

    GATINEAU, Que. – A second attack in three days on a local mosque is prompting renewed calls for a hate-crime investigation from a Canadian Muslim organization.

    The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations urged the move after the mosque was found spray painted with hate messages earlier today.

    The attack follows the smashing of windows at the mosque and an attempt to torch two cars in its parking lot earlier this week.

    The organization says it is not the first time the mosque has been the target of vandals and it cites similar attacks on mosques in Ottawa, Montreal, Hamilton, Waterloo and Vancouver.

    The organization released four photographs that show what appears to be spray-painted graffiti including the Star of David and anti-Arab slurs.

  9. Umm Sulaim

    January 6, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    Most of the articles on this site are written and doctored by persons in the west. What is the meaning of in our backyard? Muslims are in Africa you know. Africa is our backyard. There are more Muslims in Africa than in the west.

    And if it is to say that Muslims/ Masjids are being attacked in the west as christians/ churches are in Nigeria, then it is very lame.

    Umm Sulaim

  10. Mohammad

    January 7, 2012 at 5:28 AM

    Although the news is tragic, this is supposed to be MUSLIM Matters,so I’d much rather see what is happening in Syria,Egypt,Yemen,Iraaq,on a DAILY basis. This kind of article is widespread and on the news non-stop, whereas the aforementioned muslim countries are not covered anywhere near as in depth as they should. I sincerely hope that the muslims try to stay up to date with what is happening with our brothers and sisters everywhere too.

    • June

      January 7, 2012 at 12:50 PM

      Assalamu alaykum,
      I think this is a Muslim matter. The ones creating the violence are claiming to be an Islamic group and so we need to determine if we are being misrepresented or not. The ones being attacked are people of the book with whom we are supposed to try our best to maintain a peaceful relationship. While this is being covered in mainstream media I think it’s good to put it here as a way to specifically address us Muslims with the matter. In this way we can discuss it with each other in an open forum and perhaps find information and talking points not as easily available from mainstream media coverage, like the link one of the sisters provided a little earlier. The Muslim world is big and diverse but I’m sure the admin and writers for this site are trying their best to give a little attention to everybody at some point.

      • Waleed Ahmed

        January 7, 2012 at 10:01 PM

        Issues of injustice are Muslim matters …regardless of the faith of the people involved. Let’s broaden horizons a tad bit.

    • Hena Zuberi

      January 10, 2012 at 9:01 PM

      InshaAllah Brother we are planning to add some features in our new site where we will ask readers to submit news articles of relevance to them and those that they believe should be read by others.
      As always we are always on the look out for current affairs writers from across the Muslim world who can articulate what is happening in their communities.

      In the meanwhile, please send any links that you would like us to post on MM to info [at] muslimmatters [dot] org.

  11. Umm Sulaim

    January 7, 2012 at 7:35 AM

    MM is for ALL Muslims. MM should write more about Muslims in Africa. It seems some of its readers do not want to hear about that. We do not need to wait until Nigeria, or any other part of Africa, is torn apart by selfish persons before it reaches MM.

    There is need to show-case the lives of those of us who want our countries in one piece.

    Umm Sulaim

    • Waleed Ahmed

      January 7, 2012 at 10:08 PM

      We actually tried to find someone from Nigeria to write an article about the situation there when the Christmas day bombings happened. We were not able to get a timely post ready unfortunately. If you are from Africa, then feel free to put together an article and submit it to us.

      • Gbolahan

        January 11, 2012 at 2:43 AM

        Wow, We have a huge Nigerian Muslim community over there in Huston, are you saying none was able to volunteer.

  12. Ahmad

    January 7, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    May Allah bless and guide the MM editors for this post.

    The sufferings of Muslims in Africa is as lamentable as the sufferings of Muslims anywhere in the world e.g Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Afghanistan…

    A Muslim is a Muslim irrespective of his/her ethnicity or geographical location. If we are having difficulties tolerating each other because of our ethnicity or race,why should others tolerate us?

    We must all as a community devise effective methods to counter the conspiracies and Islamophobia in our societies and media.

    Insha Allah we shall succeed if we are united and sincere

  13. Infidelicious

    January 7, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    Yes, Christians can be violent too, no doubt about it. Is it any wonder religion in general and Islam in particular is wieved with suspicion by non-believers ?

    If we could all just evole past identifying with this interpretation of that scripture by you Prophet/teacher, and be human beings first and believers second – then we could stop disagreeing over invisible matters and start disagreeing over politics. economics, climate-change and other stuff we can do something about.

  14. amira

    January 9, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    Assalamu alaikum,
    I am an ardent follower of muslim matters and must say its been rewarding.Though have not been here for about 2 weeks so i missed this particular article here till now and was caught off guard by comments potraying indifference to what happens to muslims in Africa or is it Nigeria but was consoled that majority dint agree with that.Ii sympathized with the family of Aisha Khan in faraway Africa..same could be extended to us and yes i am a nigerian..

    • Hena Zuberi

      January 10, 2012 at 9:03 PM

      Jazakillah Khayr Sister Amira for giving us your feedback, we have you and our brothers and sisters and their neighbors in Nigeria in our duas.

  15. Carlos

    January 11, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    I just read that five people were killed in an attack on a mosque and an Islamic school in Nigeria this week. Simply awful. I also did some searches regarding the history of sectarian tit-for-tat violence in Nigeria since 2001. It sounds like a complete mess made worse by a lot of people acting like complete idiots, particularly young men, with government and adults failing to stand-up and put a stop to this insanity. This is religion at its worst, with tribal conflict and group politics adding fuel to the fire.

    Violence begets violence. That truth constantly proves itself. Group politics and sectarianism are a societal dead end. Individual freedom and human rights are the ways to peace and justice. Hopefully the more intelligent people of Nigeria gain the upper hand in this nonsense.

  16. mohammad

    January 12, 2012 at 5:59 AM

    Just to clarify, I wasn’t saying it wasn’t a muslim matter, but the perspective of the article, why should it not be shown or why isn’t it shown from a muslim perspective>?That’s the problem with the article. If I want to read things from other perspectives, I’ll go elsewhere, muslim matters should try to show things from a muslims’ perspective,it needs a clearer focus and aim.

    I should have been clearer in my earlier post. Of course, anything that happens with any muslim is our concern. So where are the articles on Syria etc? I mean I know what’s in Zaid Shakirs ear but I don’t know of anything reported on the events in Syria.

    • Waleed Ahmed

      January 12, 2012 at 11:32 PM

      I see your point. Fair enough. Like I mentioned in my earlier comments, we did ask for people from Nigeria to send us submissions (or even Nigerians in North America) when the Christmas bombings happened, but we weren’t able to get a timely post. We at MM are limited in our abilities and don’t have staff writers that are particularly up to date on the political situation Nigeria and other countries in the East; thus we can’t offer opinions on everything that happens around the globe.

      At the same time, I didn’t want to completely ignore what is going on in Nigeria and thus posted this link from BBC so that we could have a discussion on MM about the situation there. And I would argue it’s been a fruitful discussion as I have learned things that I didn’t know before.

      As I’ve said before, if you would like to address something, please send us an article at info at

      Hope that helps,


  17. ymr

    January 12, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    I don’t understand this comments. Whenever something bad happens to muslims. The non muslims ask us why we don’t mention what Terrorists do to them . They say we deserve what is happening to us. Are we the same level? Come on innocent humans died whoever or whatever they may be.

  18. Aminah Uwais

    January 26, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    I am a Nigerian so you will all understand how close to home this is for me. The situation with the extremist group Boko haram is truly going out of hand and cannot be controlled by the government because they have no expertise in dealing with such matters. Just recently multiple bombings took place in the city of Kano which another home to me over 200 people died majority of which are Muslim as Kano is a predominantly Muslim city. Boko Haram has not claimed this bombings but wide speculations say it is them.

    I do not for one second condone what the extremist group have been doing nor do I believe in or agree with their ideology. But the fact is these attacks are not always done by them. Nigeria is a country decided in belief and there are Christian groups out there who carry out these acts and hide behind Boko haram. There was a fire set on a church in the eastern region of Nigeria recently by an man who was dressed in Muslim attire only for him to be caught and it was later known that he was a Christian man trying to put the act on the Muslims.

    The truth about Nigeria is the press always favor the Christians for they run it. Also it has been known that they always try to put everything on the Muslims even if other groups such as the militant group come out and claim responsibility. In all honesty isn’t the press always anti-islam. We cannot always believe what they put out there.

    • Carlos

      January 26, 2012 at 11:18 PM

      When all else fails, blame the media.

      • aminah uwais

        January 27, 2012 at 7:12 AM

        This is the reality, I have lived in nigeria most my life and I know how the sys works. Now what do I have to gain by blaming the media? You think I support boko haram? When they are killing not only innocent people but people who are closer to me? Fyi they hit close to home,someone I know was in one of their bomb blast and now she is left with brain damage and one leg. This situation affects me more than it does you, who knows if their next target will include one of my family members? So please do not make it look like I do not know what I am talking about. Boko haram is doing so much damage and there are others out there doing more damage and hiding behind the group so all energy will ne channeled to bh and not ithers who are also doing harm. The muslims always have to take the fall guilty or not.

        • Carlos

          January 27, 2012 at 5:43 PM

          I am sorry about your acquaintence who was wounded, Aminah, and hope her situations improves. I hope your family and all Nigerians stay safe and can put an end to this senseless violence.

    • Taliban

      April 10, 2012 at 7:18 AM

      ISLAM=Stupid, Lazy, Rubbish, Problem, Lie, Ruses, Brain wash, Taboos, Barbarian, Dirty, Ugly, Noisy, Crazy, Oppress, Violent, Behead, Horror, War, Boom, Politic, Womanizing, Pedophilia, Polygamy, Fanatic, Evil, Terrorist

  19. person

    February 24, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    You do know there were masajid attacked in nigeria too don’t you? There were also Muslims who had their flesh EATEN, yes EATEN, by rioting christian youths. I’m not approving any violence just making a point that MM jumps on the kafir band wagon each time before looking at the whole picture. 

  20. Abubakar sadiq yahaya(Nigeria)

    February 2, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    The boko haram problem only consumed the common man be him christain or a Muslim. If realy BH Is to establish shariah state why are the corrupt and criminals going about there normal activity without fear? Oh Allah help us muslims in Nigeria and all over the world.

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