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Leah Sharibu – a symbol of faith amid persecution

16-year-old Leah Sharibu was abducted in 2018 by the terrorist group Boko Haram along with over 100 other schoolgirls; all the others were released but she was held because she refused to renounce Christ and convert to Islam.

“Leah Sharibu – a symbol of faith amid persecution,” by Ian Peacock, The Tablet, May 28, 2024:

Leah Sharibu, a young Nigerian Christian girl, remains in captivity on her 21st birthday, a stark reminder of the religious persecution and human rights violations that persist in our world today. Abducted in 2018 by Boko Haram’s ISWAP faction, Leah’s story is a testament to the indomitable spirit of humanity and the power of faith.

Revd Dr Gideon Para-Mallam, president of the Gideon and Funmi Para-Mallam Peace Foundation, expressed profound disappointment and heartbreak over Leah’s prolonged captivity. “It is extremely disappointing and heartbreaking that six years on we are still talking about Leah in captivity,” he said. He raised a poignant question, “Is the whole nation of Nigeria not in captivity?” This question underscores the broader implications of Leah’s plight, symbolising the violation of religious freedom and human rights.

Leah’s story is reminiscent of the plight of the Chibok girls, whose abduction in 2014 sparked a global outcry and a campaign, #BringBackOurGirls. Despite these efforts, many of the Chibok girls remain in captivity. Leah, like the Chibok girls, was forced to convert to Islam but chose to remain faithful to her Christian belief. Her freedom of religion and belief was violated, and today she is still in captivity because of her Christian faith.

Dr Para-Mallam highlighted that Leah herself appealed to the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Christian Association of Nigeria for rescue. He called for prayers for Leah and several other Christian girls, as well as Muslims still in captivity against their will. He stressed the need for Nigerians to unite across faiths to advocate for Leah and others’ freedom, stating, “We are in this together. Persecution to one is persecution to all.”…

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