“Anyone who thinks anyone can Islamize Nigeria is an ignoramus. A country of over 170 million people. Will he put the Islam inside Jollof rice?”
That was one tweeter’s response to the declarations of “Buhari will Islamize Nigeria” and I laughed so hard, it took a few minutes for me to calm down.
“Buhari will Islamize Nigeria” is one reason many have given for deciding not to vote for him come February 14, 2015. Do I think Buhari will Islamize Nigeria? No. However, this post is not about Buhari. It is about the Islamization of Nigeria.
We already know, as seen in the above tweet, why some people think this is impossible. So I’ll just use bullet points to help you understand- even if you won’t agree- why others think it absolutely is possible.
- Islam is the second-largest religion in the world today, after Christianity. There are approximately 1.6 billion Muslims in the world today, and that number is expected to grow to 2,2 billion by 2030.
- Get this: Jesus came, preached the good news about Jah’s Kingdom, healed the sick, raised the dead, was crucified, resurrected and was seen by many, was believed on in the world and taken up into glory. YET, after this, Islam could still not only emerge, but grow to make up 23% of the world’s population today.
- Turkey remains an example; then called Constantinople, this country was the birth place of numerous Christian apostles (Paul, Timothy, etc). Antioch, the place where Christ’s followers were first called Christians, was in Turkey. Turkey is the location of the Seven Churches mentioned in the Book of Revelation. The oldest church in Turkey was built by Apostle Peter himself. Today, however, Turkey has a smaller Christian percentage of its population than any of its neighbours, including Syria, Iraq and Iran.
- Turkey’s most recognisable religious building, the Hagia Sophia which is now a museum, was originally a church and was converted to a mosque. Yep, when Mehmet conquered the country he went into the church and ran straight for the altar shouting, Allahu Akbar! Today, Islam is the largest religion of Turkey with 99.8% of the population being registered as Muslim. There was no jollof rice.
- PLEASE NOTE that Turkey is a secular state promoting religious tolerance and there is no Sharia (Islamic Law); it is neither Muslim nor Christian. Now, indulge me and read the two preceding bullet points again, then tell me whether Turkey has been Islamized or not.
- Every religion increases primarily in 2 ways: conversion from one to another, and children being born and raised in the religion. Right now, Muslims across the country are free to convert to Christianity if they hear the gospel and choose to accept Christ. In a Sharia state, that would be a crime and the penalty is death. Anyone who understands the essence of Christianity knows that every true believer desires and prays for an environment conducive to the propagation of the gospel. Sharia in every state would effectively cripple missionary efforts to bring Christ to Muslims in the country.
Can a country like Nigeria be Islamized? Yes. The challenge is knowing what Islamization actually is, how it happens, and realising that this fear is about more than the next 4 years. It goes way, way, waaay beyond that.
The truth is that hidden agendas are notoriously difficult to prove or disprove. Speaking about establishing Sharia in every state, Buhari said it is important to “educate Christians that they have nothing to fear.” Is it his fault that he doesn’t understand what there is to fear? Or was he just pretending not to understand? We cannot tell.
Will Buhari Islamize Nigeria? I don’t think so. If there is ALREADY an agenda to Islamize Nigeria, as Boko Haram’s actions and the drive for nationwide Sharia suggest, will a Buhari presidency make it easier to do it neatly? Perhaps.
So yes, hearts will bleed at the loss of freedom and choice that Sharia will bring for Muslims if imposed in every State. Hands will be cut off, people will be stoned to death. Closer home, we ache as always for our Muslim friends and loved ones whom we want to know Jesus. The worry among Christians is not unfounded. Also, the thought of Muslim populations increasing while it becomes more difficult for the church (whose converts are at risk of being executed) to grow its ranks is understandably unnerving for many.
Yet, we must focus. We must remember that we are in the end times. Our work as a church is not to panic and foolishly think that voting along religious lines and resisting every Muslim candidate henceforth forever is a sensible or practicable strategy. We will continue to have both Muslim and Christian presidents, and maybe even one who is neither. Our work as a church is to return to the Biblical faith and insist on much needed reforms so that we can operate in power. Power as of old. We need to stop focusing on making millionaires and start paying attention to making disciples. True disciples, not churchgoers.
I, like many other Christians, will vote GMB/Osinbajo come February 14. For many of us it was a tough decision that took a long time to make, and not even for religious reasons. We have decided. Is Jesus trembling in His boots? Highly unlikely. He has built His church upon a Rock, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. At the end of the day, it is Jah’s kingdom that will be established.
There is a lot to fear, but God has not given us a Spirit of fear. He has given us a Spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind.
The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever. (Revelation 11:15).