Imam Abubakar Abdullahi was recognized for providing shelter for hundreds of Christians fleeing attacks from Muslim herdsmen who had launched coordinated attacks on Christian farmers.
On June 23, 2018, Imam Abubakar Abdullahi, a 83-year-old Muslim cleric, saved the lives of 262 Christians in his home during an attack from Muslim herdsmen.
The attack was launched in 10 villages in the Barkin Ladi area of Plateau state. Abudullahi was courageous, and had refused to give up the Christians even though the attackers urged him to.
On Wednesday, during the award ceremony Sam Brownback, the International Religious Freedom Ambassador, in his statement said:
The imam gave refuge to his Christian neighbors, sheltering 262 Christians in his mosque and his home.... then stood outside the doors confronting the Muslim attackers, pleading with them to spare the lives of the Christians inside, even offering to exchange his own life for theirs, his actions bear witness to true courage, true selflessness, and true brotherly love.
Imam Abubakar Abdullahi, along with four religious leaders from Sudan, Iraq, Brazil and Cyprus, were awarded the 2019 the International Religious Freedom Award, which is given to advocates of religious freedom.