Wife faces kidnap charges after refusing to convert to Islam
A forty-year-old woman and her elder daughter have been changed with kidnap for refusing to follow her husband’s conversion to Islam.
Amina Isa from Gidan Kura Village in Tudun Wada Local Government Area of Kano State, northern nigeria, originally told her husband that he should not convert in 2012 as a precondition for his appointment as ward head in the village.
“They told him that he cannot be appointed as a ward head because he’s a Christian, and that if he converts to Islam, he’ll be appointed the ward head,” Amina said. “I advised him against changing his religious faith for worldly position, but after much pressure from Muslims in our area, he succumbed to the demand and became a Muslim.”
Amina said that Muslim officials also pressured her to convert to Islam and she would not do so. They then filed a false kidnapping charges against her and her 21-year-old daughter.
“I reminded him that he should remember that all my family members are Muslims, but that I am the only Christian in that family, and that I married him because he was a Christian like me, so I cannot now convert to Islam simply because the Muslims have appointed him a ward head,” Amina said.
Amina said her five children, ages 6, 15 and 21, also refused to convert to Islam. “Because of their refusal to convert too, we have been threatened, beaten, and subjected to all forms of indignities by my husband and his Muslim collaborators,” Amina said.
“They’ve constantly been threatened, beaten, and harassed. In fact, at one time, (the oldest daughter, name withheld for security reasons) had to take her younger siblings and go into hiding, but both have been traced and captured by the officials and are currently being held against their will in a location undisclosed to me,” she said.
They eventually had a divorce and her husband took the three daughters to live with him. Amina explained. The 15- and 21-year-old daughters were members of their church’s evangelism outreach group, but their father stopped them from going to church altogether.
“Right now, my daughters are in the custody of these Muslim officials and are being forced into Islam, while at the same time, we are being tried on false charges,” Amina said. “All this is to force us to recant. We can never stop being Christians, and we are confident that the God we serve can never abandon us in our trying moments.”
Usman and his Muslim advisers enrolled the youngest daughter in an Islamic school but Amina and her oldest daughter made every effort and succeeded in enrolling the younger daughters at a Christian school in Zaria. Usman found out about the school.
Amina and her oldest daughter were arrested in March 2017 and taken to court for kidnapping. They were released on bailed with the help of Christian leaders in the village, she said. “Their father, in anger, came to me demanding for both girls,” she said.
“When I told him that the children have decided to remain as Christians, he and other Muslim officials in our village went to file charges against me on abducting my own children at the Magistrate Court in Tudun Wada town, a trial I’m still facing for refusing to change my religious faith. They summoned me and demanded I withdraw my daughter from the Christian school, bring her back to the village, and hand her over to them. Since I was helpless, I did as instructed by them and brought my daughter back to them.”
The adult daughter immediately went into hiding after the bail, but her father and the Muslim leaders found her. They are now holding her, against her will, with the two younger daughters in an unknown location to their mother.
The Rev. Ayuba Hassan, Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Tudun Wada Cpouncil Chapter, said the association has been able to get a lawyer for Amina. “We’ve been able to accompany her to the court a number of times,” he said. “We pray that she’ll be able to get justice from the court.”
Hassan John is West Africa Editor, GCN and Priest of the Anglican Diocese of Jos.