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Nigerian Pastor's daughter embraces Islam
Saturday August 10, 2013 11:32 PM, ummid.com News Network

25-year-old daughter of a pastor and a former student at the Federal Polytechnic Bidaa, Charity Uzoechina, has embraced Islam attracting a nationwide debate in Nigeria's mainly Christian South-eastern region, a media report said.

"I have Muslim friends and I watched what they do, that enticed me to join Islam", OnIslam.net quoted Charity, now Aisha, as saying in a report published Saturday.

The new Muslim said with the advice of her friends and new tutor, she has chosen the name Aisha.

"I love what I read about Aishah, the wife of the prophet," she added. "I dream to be like her in terms of spreading the message of Islam and being pious."

When she decided to revert to Islam, she faced accusations that she was abducted and converted by force and her conversion ignited a row between Nigeria's umbrella Christian and Muslim groups, raising questions about freedom of religion in the volatile tribal region.

"I joined Islam purely on my own terms. I love the character of Muslims that I have related with, particularly the way they behave. You know Muslims believe in God," Charity Uzoechina, a 25-year-old daughter of a pastor, whose conversion has attracted nationwide debate, told OnIslam.net.

Feeling that her life is under threat, Charity sought refuge away from her family for fear of possible backlashes.

A former student at the Federal Polytechnic Bida, she stopped going to school for fear of being harmed by her relatives.

Approaching the court for protection from her parent, Charity's custody was entrusted by the Shari`ah Court to the Etsu of Nupe, a Muslim emir with dominion over the ancient city of Bida in the Nigeria's North-central Niger state.

Nevertheless, her father, Pastor Raymond Uzoechina, and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) sought to take back the lady, accusing the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, of abducting and forcibly converting her to Islam.

The Etsu Nupe and the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) have, however, insisted that she converted voluntarily and sought refuge in the Etsu Nupe's Bida palace in Niger State out of fear of her father.

Charity also rejected suggestions by her father and said her conversion was "strictly personal, gradual and well thought-out."

The Uzoechinas are from Nigeria's Southeast, a region with extremely low population of Muslims and where conversion to Islam is rare and deemed 'abnormal'.

A monarch who is Vice Chairman of the Council of Village Heads in Nigeria's Southeastern Imo State, Chief Sylvester Dimunah, converted to Islam early this year. A few others had also done so in the past.

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