Kaduna, Nigeria is a segregated city.
After the government instituted Sharia law in the year 2000, riots broke out that left hundreds of people dead, mosques and churches were burned, and the city began segregation itself by religion—Muslims living to the north, Christians to the south.
In 2002, infighting flared up again. More places of worship were burned, and roughly 11,000 people were homeless after the smoke cleared. Kaduna is known for sectarianism.
The region of Kaduna—and Nigeria in general—is gaining notoriety for terrorism and sectarian infighting. Boko Haram—located primarily in the northeast—recently overtook ISIS as the world's deadliest terror group.
Then, on Christmas day just two days ago, a group of 200 young Muslim men surrounded a prominent church in Kaduna...to protect it. And this ring of protection was more than a gesture. Christmas day is known around the world as a day of persecution for Christians in the Middle East and Africa.
“I really appreciate their love and care,’’ said Buru, a cleric of Christ Evangelical Church who confirmed that over 200 Muslims were at his church to help protect from an attack during the service.
The pastor went on to share his hope for the region and the nation, saying this was a step toward peace. He urged citizens to live in peace, regardless of ethnic or religious differences.
These 200 men and their willingness to stand for peace in a place notorious for tribalism and religious rivalry is beautiful, but it's also simple—anyone could do it. You could do it! So, how will you do it? What simple, beautiful thing will you do to bridge gaps in your neighborhood?
How will you choose to step across enemy lines to love?