Muslim persecution of Christians is unfortunately not something new for those in Nigeria, a population made up of half Muslim and half Christian people. Their upcoming presidential election awakens more fear in Nigerian Christians; the outcome of the election can put them in danger of more Muslim attacks.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) – Muslim-on-Muslim attacks, like Boko Haram’s brutal kidnapping of 230 Nigerian schoolgirls, are broadcasted throughout the mainstream media and receive a lot of coverage. However, attacks on Christians are rarely covered, even though they are common and happen “all around the Islamic world,” according to Raymond Ibrahim, author of the monthly report “Muslim Persecution of Christians.”
“[I] once thought [I] wouldn’t be able to continue the ‘Muslim Persecution of Christians’ report because surely, a month will come when there would be only one or two stories to write about,” explained Ibrahim to Washington Times. “But lo and behold, every month that’s gone by has produced even more atrocities, making the report much longer.”
From August 2014 to October 2014, Boko Haram and other radical Islamists obliterated 200 Christian churches as they destroyed towns and villages in northeastern Nigeria, according to Ibrahim.
According to Ibrahim, “Muslim attacks on Christians are not isolated incidents” over geography or some other local complaint but they are “attacks of Christianity itself.”
“A primary target for Muslim violence is a Christian church, which may be firebombed or destroyed while people are congregating inside for worship services,” Ibrahim said. “The sheer volume of the attacks on Christians in Nigeria makes it one of the worst places for them.”
Nigerians are due to vote for a new president in February; among the several cadidates is Christian incumbent Goodluck Jonathan and Muslim challenger Mohammadu Buhari.
Jonathan’s win over Buhari in 2011 started a series of massive sectarian violence; “More than 700 churches were burned, hundreds of Christians were targeted and killed, and thousands of Christian businesses and homes were torched,” stated Washington Times.
Both Jonathan and Buhari are to urge their supporters to refrain from any postelection violence.
“A peaceful and smooth transition is equally essential, so that whoever is elected can quickly turn his focus to confronting and defeating Boko Haram,” Ambassador Robert P. Jackson, acting assistant secretary of state for African affairs, told the House hearing. “We are appalled by the accelerated pace and brutality of Boko Haram’s attacks. This unchecked killing must stop.”