by Christopher Paslay
On July 17, the Trump administration officially recognized that Imam Abubakar Abdullahi of Nigeria selflessly risked his own life to save members of another religious community, who would have likely been killed without his intervention.
President Trump’s love of the First Amendment was on display last week when his Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom gave away several awards to international faith leaders and human rights activists. One such recipient was Muslim Imam Abubakar Abdullahi of Nigeria, who selflessly risked his own life to save hundreds of Christians. According to the State Department:
On June 23, 2018, ethnic Fulani herdsmen, who are predominantly Muslim, launched coordinated attacks on 10 villages in Barkin Ladi, killing hundreds of ethnic Berom farmers, who are predominantly Christian. As Imam Abdullahi was finishing midday prayers, he and his congregation heard gunshots and went outside to see members of the town’s Christian community fleeing. Instinctively, the Imam ushered 262 Christians into the mosque and his home next to the mosque. The Imam then went outside to confront the gunmen and he refused to allow them to enter, pleading with them to spare the Christians inside, even offering to sacrifice his life for theirs. Although the gunmen killed 84 people in Nghar village that day, Imam Abdullahi’s actions saved the lives of hundreds more. Born in Bauchi State around 1936, the Imam has lived in Nghar for 60 years and led the Muslim community through the mosque, which was built on land provided by the Christian community. Imam Abdullahi’s courage in the face of imminent danger and his history of outreach across religious divides demonstrates his lifelong commitment to promoting interfaith understanding and peace.
The fact that the Trump administration gave a Muslim Imam such a prestigious honor is further proof against the president’s supposed “Islamophobia.” Trump’s harshest critics rarely judge his actions, rather, project their own bitterness onto him by willfully misinterpreting his intentions. As Jeffrey T. Brown stated in his recent American Thinker article, “It isn’t what Trump actually says or does that matters, it is what he ‘means.’ Trump’s motives, and ours, are provided for us countless times each day by a cadre of unhinged, hyper-emotionalized mental patients.”
An example of such feigned outrage was President Trump’s signing of Executive Order 13769, titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” The countries on this travel ban included two non-Muslim nations and excluded Indonesia, which has over 225 million Muslims, more than any other country in the world; in 2018 the Supreme Court agreed with the legality of the ban, and upheld Trump’s executive order. Despite the fact Obama had barred large groups of potentially dangerous immigrants from entering the United States at least six times – and the fact that Bill Clinton and George W. Bush both issued six immigrant bans – Trump was pegged as a xenophobe who hated Muslims.
As evidenced by Trump’s support for international religious freedom, his actions speak much louder than his critics’ false words.