A Lost Daughter: Part 1

08/26/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – When Misari discovered that his 13-year-old daughter, Jennifer, had run away from home, fear and dread washed over him like ice cold water from the Niger River. Like many teenage girls, Jennifer was smitten with a boy whom her parents did not like very much. It was not the color of his skin, the way he talked, or his education level. Jennifer’s parents did not like this boy because he had not only convinced Jennifer to become his wife, he had convinced her to become a Muslim.

Misari’s child refused to come home after she visited her “lover” and his Muslim family. The boy’s parents persuaded her to stay permanently, luring her in with promises of love, marriage, and stability, while simultaneously feeding her dosages of Muslim theology. Jennifer was on the cusp of puberty; eventually, she would be ready to convert and bear Muslim children.

It wasn’t just a matter of strolling up and knocking on the Muslim family’s hut: “Wétin dey? Can I have my daughter back?” In a culture where the government turns a blind eye to Muslim violence, that would be a death wish. So, Misari waited for his opportunity to take her back home.

Child-grooming is becoming more prevalent among Muslims in Nigeria – a direct result of the government’s refusal to protect Christian girls. Though the line between legal age of consent and parental rights has been traditionally blurred in Nigeria, the culture is beginning to feel the global pushback against child marriage.

But Nigeria’s Muslim population is resis­tant to the coming change. Today, 17% of Muslim girls are married before they even turn 15. In 2013, senators rejected the rec­ommendation that the national legal age of permissibility be changed to 18 years. The senators argued that the law would discrimi­nate against Muslim girls, who are considered “of age” when they are married. Ironically, as a child bride, that decision falls upon the shoulders of her parents.

Even Muslims would admit that parental consent is necessary for a child to be married. The issue drifts from parental rights to religious rights when Muslims justify the kidnapping, indoctrination, and forced marriage of Christian girls. This is a major problem in Nigeria, where the government refuses to protect Christians or their families from Muslim tyranny. Christians have lost the rights to their own children in Nigeria.

Misari feared that he would never see his daughter again, but he feared even more for his child’s salvation. He would not be able to raise her after the Christian heritage of her family. Jennifer would receive a Muslim name, learn to speak Arabic, and be sternly told that Jesus was a prophet – not the Son of God and certainly not the Savior of the world.

Stay tuned for Part 2, coming tomorrow.

To read more stories like this, sign up for ICC’s free monthly magazine.

ICC is on a mission to help persecuted Christians. Will you join us?