Merciless Islamic Oppression of Christians in Africa: Remember Boko Haram?

Jack Kerwick
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Posted: Feb 16, 2015 12:01 AM
Merciless Islamic Oppression of Christians in Africa: Remember Boko Haram?

Scarcely a day passes that media personalities aren’t sounding the alarm over the relentless march of “Islamism”—i.e. militant Islam. To hear them tell it, one could be forgiven for thinking that “Islamism”—exemplified by the likes of ISIS—is mere centimeters away from destroying both America and Israel.

Of course, this is hysteria. Jihadists are dangerous individuals, for sure, but America and Israel have ample resources with which to protect their citizens.

Such, however, cannot be said for the Christians of dozens of countries around the world who daily suffer unimaginable predations at the hands of the Muslim majorities of their homelands.

Take Niger, for example. This West African country has a population of 17 million people. About 98 percent of Niger’s inhabitants are Muslims. The remaining 350,000 consists of Christians and animists.

In January, following the Charlie Hebdo incident a continent away, Muslims ravaged Christian communities from town to town. The mobs looted, burned, desecrated, and destroyed churches while unleashing violence—including lethal violence—on vulnerable Christians. In the capital city of Niamey alone, 45 churches were burned, 173 people injured, and five murdered.

Yet it wasn’t just churches that were destroyed.

An orphanage and a school were both torched as well.

A Christian from the town of Zinder conveyed the sense of terror that has overcome his community. “They are looking for Christians. They burned everything with any Christian symbols on it, whether Catholic or Evangelical.”

Another Christian said bluntly: “We are living in fear. Many Christians won’t sleep in their own homes for fear of being attacked.”

Those who witnessed the attacks are traumatized by the memories of hordes of people, particularly young boys, ransacking their places of worship before igniting them in flames.

The archbishop of Niamey explained that the Muslim marauders were “going around asking, ‘Are you Allahu Akbar or are you Alleluia’” in their attempts to “to identify Christians in the city.” He desperately asked: “What are they going to do next?”

Nearly 400 homeless Christians are now living in military camps in Zinder. Some Christians, however, have returned to their homes. But they know the violence is far from over, for their Muslim victimizers are demanding the release of those who authorities managed to arrest.

More recently, the violence has escalated—and, as it turns out, suspicions regarding Boko Haram’s involvement that were raised last month have been confirmed.

Diffa is a border region between Niger and Nigeria. The latter just declared a State of Emergency in response to a series of assaults courtesy of Boko Haram.

Thousands of Christians (and others) are evacuating Diffa and heading to Zinder city. Families have been separated. According to the BBC, one evacuee, a female, was desperately trying to find her loved ones. “I left home when I heard the blast at Tattasai market and went looking for my children.” Although she left Diffa the day before, she stated that “I have no peace of mind because I could not locate my mother, my son, my aunties and my other relatives.” The woman continued: “Everybody went their separate way and I did not meet any of them on my way here.”

The refugee explained that while she searched nearly “everywhere” in Zinder, she had been unable to find her son.

The Christians in Nigeria can relate. Since the rise of Boko Haram, roughly 3.2 million residents have left their homes. According to Open Borders, an organization dedicated to “serving persecuted Christians worldwide,” a Nigerian official told the BBC last month that as many as 2,000 people may have been murdered in the northeastern town of Baga: bodies littered the streets and the entire town had been burned to the ground.

In the Borno State capital of Maiduguri, a suicide bombing claimed the lives of 16 people and injured 20 more.

The bomber turned out to be a 10 year-old girl.

As if the displaced citizens of Nigeria and Niger didn’t already have it rough enough, Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has just launched an investigation into reports that the refugee camps are being used for purposes of raping and child trafficking.

According to a report published by the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), hundreds of girls have been delivered to the slave traffic. Quoted in the report is a nurse who says that many girls were brought to her hospital upon being raped. The ICIR report also mentions that not only are refugees being enslaved and sexually brutalized; they are as well tortured with knives and fire.

Christian minorities in Islamic nations the globe over are being made to endure merciless oppression. And yet for all of the constant chatter over “Islamism” that we hear from Americans and, for that matter, such representatives of Israel as its Prime Minister, we hear little to nothing about the untold numbers of Christians who find themselves at the mercies of their murderous Islamic persecutors.