Published: 00:00 GMT Daylight Time - Thursday 22 October 2009
Christian aid worker murdered in Mauritania
|Not only converts themselves, but also anyone who is thought to be seeking to win converts from Islam, is liable for persecution. Many such are martyred. Our story below is from Mauritania, North Africa, a region often called the Maghreb.|
On 23 June 2009, Chris Leggett, an American Christian living in Mauritania, was killed. Two attackers appeared to try and kidnap him, and when he resisted they shot him several times in the head. Al-Jazeera television later played a recording reportedly from Al- Qaeda, which stated, “Two knights of the Islamic Maghreb succeeded Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. to kill the infidel American Christopher Leggett for his Christianizing activities.” Despite this taunt his family issued the following statement:
In a spirit of love, we express our forgiveness for those who took away the life of our remarkable son. Chris had a deep love for Mauritania and its people, a love that we share. Despite this terrible event, we harbour no ill will for the Mauritanian people. On a spiritual level, we forgive those responsible, asking only that justice be applied against those who killed our son.
Mauritania’s Interior Ministry responded, saying that it was investigating the death and security forces were doing all they could to catch the criminals.
Leggett, his wife and four children lived for seven years in the impoverished El-Kasr neighbourhood of Nouakchott, where he directed an aid agency that provided training in computer skills, sewing and literacy, and he also ran a micro-finance program. His good works as a Christian undertaking humanitarian work could not protect him from this brutal attack, which was, interestingly, justified by his attackers on the basis of the Islamic apostasy law.