‘You Can Kill My Body, But Not My Soul’: Christian Refuses to Convert to Islam in Face of Death

Nigeria pdNIGERIA — A Christian man in Nigeria recently stood firm for his faith despite Muslim attempts to force him to convert to Islam by threatening him with death.

As previously reported, the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram has been attacking the Gwoza area for several years, with violence intensifying throughout 2014. In June, South Africa Today reported that the death toll in Borno State was estimated at being between 400 to 500 residents, but that an exact tally could not be calculated.

“The killings are massive, but nobody can give a toll for now because nobody has been able to go to that place because the insurgents are still there,” lawmaker Peter Biye stated. “They have taken over the whole area.”

Last month, a number of Christians fled Gwoza and the surrounding villages as Boko Haram attacked neighborhoods with explosive devices, fire bombs and assault rifles. Approximately 100 people lost their lives in the attack.

Among those who fled was John Yakuba, who lives with his family in the predominately Christian village of Attagara in Northeast Nigeria. According to the organization Voice of the Martyrs (VOM), Yakuba fled to a refugee camp in Cameroon, but when it seemed that his family faced starvation there, he returned to the village to see if he could retrieve some of his livestock. He planned on selling the livestock so that he could have funds to feed his family.

However, when members of Boko Haram spotted Yakuba entering his house to gather a few other belongings left behind, they captured him and attempted to force him to become a Muslim.

“You must convert to Islam or else you will die a painful death,” they threatened.

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Yakuba refused and was tied to a tree as Islamic insurgents then began slashing his hands with a knife.

“Can you become a Muslim now?” they asked.

“You can kill my body, but not my soul,” Yakuba replied.

Members of Boko Haram continued to torture Yakuba, using both the knife and a machete to cut his back and feet, asking him again if he would convert and follow Allah. He refused.

“We will show you,” the Islamists said.

They slashed his head and struck his knee with an axe. Yakuba soon lost consciousness. He was left for dead.

Miraculously, when someone spotted Yakuba tied to the tree three days later, he was still alive, although in a coma. He was transported to an area hospital, where he eventually regained consciousness.

A VOM representative met Yakuba in the hospital, and asked him how he felt about those who had attacked him.

“I have forgiven the Islamic militants because they did not know what they are doing,” he said.

An estimated 300,000 Christians are said to have been displaced due to the violence in the Gwoza area, many of whom—like Yakuba—escaped to Cameroon.


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  • bowie1

    Brave man. I hope he can get into better circumstances away from the Boko Haram criminals.

  • EstrelladeDavid

    GOD will give a great reward to this man…. He will be blessed by YAHVÉ…

  • robertzaccour

    Wow what a testament of courage! How many of us as Christians would be able to do the same? I really can’t say for sure that I would be able to if in that situation. I’d like to honestly be able to say that I would.

  • Rodolphe

    Praise the LORD. “I forgive them” was very Christ-like. The real culprit behind christian persecution is the vatican. Vatican created Islam. Ex-Jesuit Priest Alberto Riviera http://remnantofgod.org

  • Godfrey Mayende

    God bless u… This reminds me of those who will be left behind after the second coming of Jesus. the rapture…(Revelations).

  • jennylynn

    This is true Christianity, the way the Bible speaks of. Praise God for these brothers and sisters.. May we all be as strong durring our coming tribulation.
    Revelaltions 12:11
    And they overcame them by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony and they did not love their life even unto death.