Our friends at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview released a commentary today highlighting the intense persecution Christians face in Nigeria and calling on America to condemn the atrocities committed against thousands of innocent civilians in that country.
John Stonestreet writes,
By most estimates, the population of Nigeria is almost evenly divided between Muslims and Christians. That religious split largely follows geographic lines: The northern part of the country is predominantly Muslim, the eastern and southern parts of the country heavily Christian. The middle, sometimes called the “Middle Belt,” is ethnically and religiously diverse.
Not surprisingly, what makes Nigeria so dangerous for Christians originates in the Islamic north. There, Christians have been on the receiving end of a campaign Open Doors calls “religious cleansing,” that is, an attempt “to eradicate Christianity” from the region. . . .
In a statement released in late June, Christian leaders claimed that “over 6,000 persons—mostly children, women and the aged—have been maimed and killed in night raids by armed Fulani herdsmen.”
The Fulani are an ethnic group who are overwhelmingly Muslim, and their raids are not always at night. . . .
The language used by Christian leaders in Nigeria in their statement to describe what is happening, “pure genocide,” is hard to disagree with. As was the call, directed toward the national government to “stop this senseless … blood shedding… and avoid a state of complete anarchy where the people are forced to defend themselves.” . . .
So, what can we do about this? First, we must pray, continually, for our brothers and sisters there. Second, we have to encourage the White House to continue pressing Nigeria about what’s happening in its Middle Belt, as it did during an April meeting with the Nigerian president.
John Stonestreet at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview has published a commentary this week highlighting the intense persecution many Christians face around the globe.
“North Korean secret agents have martyred a Korean Chinese pastor who lived in Chiangbai, a town on the Chinese side of the Sino-Korean border. Han Choong Yeol was active in helping North Korean refugees by giving them food, medicine, clothing and other goods they needed for survival back in North Korea.
“[On] April 30th, pastor Han left his home just after noon and was supposed to return before 5 p.m. When he didn’t come back, a search was set up. Around 8 p.m., his lifeless body was found, visibly maimed by stab and axe wounds.
“… Han was 49 and leaves behind a wife, a son and a daughter as well as the local Three Self-Church …that he pastored.”
And of course there was the Easter suicide bombing targeting Christians in Lahore, Pakistan, at a public park. The attack left 72 people dead and 341 wounded. At least 24 children were among those who died. An offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban, Jamat-ul-Ahrar, has claimed responsibility.
This is not an isolated incident, unfortunately. He goes to identify new reports that have been published this year highlighting the countries responsible for the most religious persecution–and the type of persecution and martyrdom many Christians face.
As Stonestreet notes, religious freedom is something we all have a stake in–both at home and around the globe.
Click here to read John Stonestreet’s full commentary, or listen to it below.
A few months ago we explained how the U.S. could be poised to label some of the atrocities committed by ISIS in the Middle East “genocide.”
I say “some of the atrocities,” because at the time the State Department was prepared to leave Christians off the list of genocide victims, despite the fact ISIS has specifically and brutally targeted Christians time and time again.
Last week, however, the European Union took steps to label ISIS violence as “genocide,” and to call on other nations to do the dame. Sophia Kuby, director of European Union advocacy at Alliance Defending Freedom International, issued a statement, saying,
“We applaud the European Parliament for having responded to clear and compelling evidence that Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East are victims of intentional destruction and genocide. The overwhelming majority who voted in favor of this recognition is remarkable and shows that Europe supports action against this intolerable and ongoing genocide. It was high time that the EU responded to the undeniable evidence of this genocide, which includes assassinations of church leaders, torture, mass murders, kidnapping, sexual enslavement, systematic rape of Christian and Yazidi girls and women, and the destruction of churches, monasteries, and cemeteries.”