The New Year’s resolution for “Sunnis for Da’wa [Islamization] and Jihad”—also known as Boko Haram, or “Western education is forbidden”—is to create a Christian-free Nigeria, beginning, naturally, with the north, where Muslims outnumber Christians.
Right at the start of 2012, Boko Haram issued an ultimatum giving Christians living in northern Nigeria three days to evacuate or die—an ultimatum the group has been living up to, so much so that Nigeria’s President Jonathan recently declared a state of emergency.
This, of course, is not to say that Boko Haram has not been long targeting Christians, as the New York Times—which all but apologized for the group’s terrorism—would have it.
Boko Haram and other Muslims have been terrorizing Nigerian Christians for years, killing thousands of them, and destroying hundreds of their churches. Just last November, hundreds of armed Muslims, many from the group, invaded Christian villages, “like a swarm of bees,” killing, looting, and destroying. At the end of their four-hour rampage, at least 130 Christians were killed. Forty-five other Christians in another village were slaughtered by another set of “Allahu Akbar!” screaming Muslims.
Likewise, another jihadi attack from last November, enabled by “local Muslims,” left five churches destroyedand several Christians killed: “The Muslims in this town were going round town pointing out church buildings and shops owned by Christians to members of Boko Haram, and they in turn bombed these churches and shops.” In one instance, a local Muslim pleaded with Boko Haram members not to burn down a particular church—not out of altruism, of course, but rather because that Muslim’s home was adjacent to the church, and might also have caught fire. The church was spared.
Still, beginning with Boko Haram’s church attacks of December 25, where over 40 people celebrating Christmas were killed, the group has definitely upped both the frequency and savagery of jihadi attacks on Christians and their churches. Most recently, armed Muslims stormed a church and “opened fire on worshippers as their eyes were closed in prayer,” killing six Christians, including the pastor’s wife, and wounding many.
Then, when friends and relatives gathered to mourn the deaths of some of those slain in this most recent church attack, Boko Haram Muslims appeared and opened fire again, killing another 20 Christians, all while screaming “Allahu Akbar!”—Islam’s ancient war cry, which at root simply means “my god is greater than your god!”
A number of other sporadic attacks have occurred since: Four Christians were gunned down as they were getting gases, likely so they could flee the north, and another two were slain during a Boko Haram invasion of Christian homes.
Ayo Oritsejafor, head of the Christian Association of Nigeria has accurately characterized this spate of attacks on Christians as “religious cleansing,” citing that some 120 Christians have been killed since the Christmas day church attacks.
Worse, but not unexpectedly, President Jonathan recently declared that “some of them [Boko Haram] are in the executive arm of government, some of them are in the parliamentary/legislative arm of government, while some of them are even in the judiciary. Some are also in the armed forces, the police and other security agencies.”
This is typical of any number of Muslim nations where Islamists have infiltrated and hold important positions in the government, even where the U.S is not enabling them, such as Nigeria.
At any rate, Sudan offers a glimpse at what may be in store for Nigeria. In July 2011, South Sudan was born, breaking away from Sudan proper, in response to that all too familiar pattern: Sudan’s Muslim north, just like Nigeria’s Muslim north, was constantly abusing—also to the point of ethnic/religious cleansing—the Christian and animist south.
In the interest of Nigeria’s Christian population, then, the nation may well be poised to go the way of Sudan and divide—and thus be the latest example of the difficulty of living peaceably alongside Muslims wherever and whenever they make for large numbers.