'New Sharia law' in a Nigerian state causes concern for believers

( [email protected] ) May 05, 2004 08:48 AM EDT

Nigeria's northern state of Zamfara recently introduced a series of laws that under the newly adopted Sharia code, could have far reaching implications for Christians.

According to released government documents, the new laws require all businesses in the state to shut down during the five daily Muslim prayers.

The part of the code that causes concern for missionaries is ‘Phase Two'. The state government says all unauthorized places of worship will be shut down.

While it remains to be seen how many churches will be targeted for closure under the new measures, Association of Christian Schools International's Dan Egeler says they're cautious. "The implementation of Sharia is of great concern, because obviously that's a part of the political agenda of the encroachment of Islam, in northern Nigeria, particularly."

ACSI is working in connection with an indigenous ministry. In the early stages, Egeler says it means planning. "So, we're not quite sure what kind of impact that might have in terms of fostering, planting and encouraging the Christian school movement."

Egeler urges prayer for their teams, adding that their teachers face a spiritual battle. "They recognize that Islam is using Muslim schooling, and going after young people. That's their agenda. They're going after the kids. They're not quite as concerned or serious even about the adults, but they're going after the next generation in order to take over some of these sub-Saharan African countries. Nigeria is a flashpoint right now."