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Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.” Luke 2:13-14

Gideon Akaluka (1994)
Targeted by Extremists

In December 1994, a group of Muslims came to Gideon’s home in Kano, Nigeria, and made the outrageous accusation that his family had desecrated the Quran by using a page from the book as toilet paper. They said that he should be punished with death for such an act, and appeared determined to see this was carried out.

Gideon, who was clearly being targeted because of his Christian faith, was taken into police detention and held in custody at Bompai prison. On 26 December a number of Muslims visited Gideon in prison and he was killed shortly afterwards. It is not clear whether or not the prison guards were complicit in Gideon’s death but he was beheaded, and Muslim extremists then marched through the town triumphantly with his head on a pole. For a long time his family were not able to obtain the body for burial.

Yet with woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long,
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;

And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring:
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.

Edmund Hamilton Sears (1810–76)