Rim Village Attacked As The U.S. Government Continues in Denial

On April 24, Rim Village was attacked by Muslims leaving five dead and two wounded. Rim village is named for its place on the rim of the large plateau for which Plateau State is named. It is on the Jos-Abuja road, and the Jubilee Campaign team passed through it four times during our trip to Nigeria early this February. The pictures we received in connection with this update are too graphic to show you, but we can tell you that these Christians died in their houses, resting on their beds. Some of the slain appear to have been preparing food for their children, who were also butchered.

Our contacts in this village are strong enough that within 24 hours we received the names of the dead and wounded. We ask that you please remember the families of the dead in prayer.
The Martyrs: Rose Ralyop, Dinatu Danbwarang, Simi Joseph, Christiana Samuel, & Japhet Samuel.

Please also pray for the wounded that they will recover physically as well as spiritually. Note from the family names that Patience lost her mother, and Jenipher lost her mother and brother.
The Suffering: Jenipher Samuel & Patience Joseph

To us at Jubilee Campaign, this story serves to illustrate the difference between the roles of the Christian and the Muslim communities in this conflict. Unfortunately, Westerners tend to presume that both sides are equally guilty in conflicts like these. This concept is called moral equivalency and more and more I am convinced that it is a lie used by evil to beget more evil.

These Christians had nothing against Muslims. They had not attacked anyone. They were sitting peacefully in their homes, unaware that death was coming for them. Their only crime was to be Christian, and to be near a major highway giving the killers easy access to their village. In the future, I am sure that the Christians in this area will set guards. If Muslims come to kill them again, they will defend their homes and families and some of the Muslim attackers may die.

The concept of Moral Equivalency, which is clearly one of the core dogmas of the U.S. State Department, will claim that the deaths of the Muslim attackers are in some way equivalent to the deaths of these innocents who died in their homes!

It makes me ashamed to be an American to say this, but the U.S. State Department has denied the self-evident fact that this conflict is religious, as they have done in other conflicts between radical Muslims and their victims. They have asserted that the problem is poverty and their self-proclaimed intent is to give millions of U.S. aid money into the hands of the very Muslim communal leaders who are fostering this strategy of hate. Meanwhile, they have sabotaged every effort by the Government of Nigeria, or the Christians living in the Middle Belt to accurately and effectively address this violence.

I want to be clear, the looming religious war with genocidal overtones which will splinter Nigeria, destabilizing West Africa, and polarize the continent along religious lines is not inevitable. Yet every day that our nation continues on this foolish and false policy of denial, empowering the aggressors and punishing the victims, we make war and even genocide that much more likely. I pray that we recognize our errors soon and change course before it is too late.

Recognizing Reality: The Slaughter of Nigerian Christians is Religious

Jubilee Campaign and other human rights groups gravely concerned with the US State Department’s ill-informed statements

A group of human rights and religious liberty organizations in Washington condemn the barbaric multi-city Easter Sunday bombings in Kaduna and Plateau state that claimed dozens of lives. Attacks on northern and central Nigeria’s Christian community come as no surprise in light of Boko Haram’s genocidal declarations to kill Christians in the North, yet sadly they were avoidable. Despite the fact that the world has been on notice about religiously motivated terrorism in Nigeria due to sustained terrorist activity occurring against perceived “Western” concepts including churches, schools and even the United Nations, governments at home and abroad have largely ignored or underestimated the growing problem of interreligious strife and terrorism within Nigeria.

In the past few years violent groups like Boko Haram, which claimed responsibility for the equally deadly multi-city Christmas church bombings, have increased attacks on Christians as a way of destabilizing the country. As US officials continue to ignore the threat to religious liberty posed by religiously motivated terrorism within Nigeria we should expect more gloomy religious holidays to threaten the country’s fragile democracy as well as our own national security.

We particularly denounce the Assistant Secretary for Africa, Ambassador Johnnie Carson’s ill-informed and exceedingly insensitive remarks that the crisis in Nigeria is not “religious.” How the senseless serial killings of innocent worshippers during church services by a group whose publicly stated mission is to islamize the nation and abolish democracy can be anything but religious is to willfully blind oneself to objective reality. It goes against all available evidence and even the pleas of the Nigerian government.

It is deplorable that the US has neither offered humanitarian assistance nor pressed the Government of Nigeria to provide compensation to the hundreds of families who lost loved ones in Nigeria’s post-election violence that targeted faith communities in 12 states. Rather one year later, victims remain without succour while the US glosses over the massive human losses sustained during the 2011 elections.

We believe that the US should be more forthright in its assessment of the facts. With the largest political section in Africa, it is bewildering that there is such a huge disconnect between the realities on the ground and the conclusions coming out of the US Department of State. The US Department of State must declare Boko Haram a terrorist organization and place the Boko Haram and related organizations on its terrorist list. International travel by anyone associated with Boko Haram must be banned.

Nigeria is today closer to a civil war along religious lines than ever before in its history. The US government cannot afford to be asleep at the wheel as Africa’s most important country totters on the verge of implosion.

ORGANIZATION NAME

AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE

THE BECKETT FUND FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

THE INSTITUTE ON RELIGION AND DEMOCRACY

JUBILEE CAMPAIGN

INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN CONCERN

THE WESTMINSTER INSTITUTE

THE JUSTICE FOR JOS PLUS PROJECT

Jubilee Campaign At the UN

Jubilee Campaign Presents the Reality of Anti-Christian Violence in Nigeria

This week the United Nations Human Rights Council heard the truth on the killing of Christians in Nigeria.  The hidden causes and terrifying implications of the militant, Islamic-driven violence were laid open for the perusal of the international community. On Tuesday, Ann Buwalda pled with international community to recognize the pernicious effects of impunity, using the massive escalation in violence

“Freedom of religion or belief does not merely mean that governments do not detain or execute people on account of their belief, but that the governments ensure that religiously motivated murder is not permitted and that incitement draws its proper prosecutorial response,” she proclaimed.

On Wednesday, Jubilee Campaign showed a new clip from Fred Williams entitled “The Price of Impunity.” The wails of the bereaved women of Dogo Nahawa, where almost 500 people were massacred two years ago today, provided a chilling soundtrack to image upon image of butchered children and decapitated pastors, with imagery as recent as December 10, 2011.

The testimony of Prof. Yakubu Joseph provided a brilliant analysis of the situation of northern Christians. With his expertise as a researcher at the Institute for International Religious Freedom, Prof. Joseph expertly dissected the current anti-Christian climate in its religious, social, and political dimensions and noted the difference between legal and actual protection. Despite the ratification of numerous international human rights treaties and Constitutional language promising religious freedom, the reality faced by Nigeria’s northern Christians is anything but free.

Barrister Edward Pwajok, the Attorney General of Plateau State presented his case for empowering the States to arrest and investigate the crimes they are theoretically responsible for prosecuting under Nigeria’s current system. All existing security forces fall directly under Presidential authority. Unfortunately, the corrupt and often partisan nature of the centralized security forces sabotages sub-national justice procedures undermining the freedoms enshrined in Nigeria’s Constitution.

Jubilee Campaign researcher Gregory Treat presented the report “Recognizing the Religious Underpinning of Violence In Northern Nigeria” based on Jubilee Campaign’s recent situation assessment trip to Nigeria in the first half of February. Unfortunately, far too much of the international community spends its time denying the reality of the religious element in Nigeria’s northern conflict choosing instead to arbitrarily focus on “cross cultural frustration over government corruption” as the U.S. Department of State did in a recent Washington Times article. By contrast Mr. Treat asserted that: “Until the international community recognizes the religious element in this conflict they will continue to be blindsided by massive escalations in violence like what we are seeing now.”

The violence has continued unabated since January and shows no signs of ending. An ultimatum issued by a Boko Haram spokesman in early January ordered all Christians to leave the north or face attacks. Over 300 people died in the month of January alone as Boko Haram attempted to fulfill their promise, a 7-fold increase in killings over all of last year. This past Sunday March 4, Boko Haram declared “war on Christians.” Boko Haram has never broken their word when they promise to deliver violence despite the opinions of outside observers who continue to cast doubts on Boko Haram’s organization and capacity.

Jubilee Campaign called on the Special Rapportuer on Freedom of Religion or Belief to request an invitation for a country visit to Nigeria and urged the Government of Nigeria to grant that request and respond to the many communications they have ignored on this issue over the past several years. We are encouraged by the dedication of the Special Rapportuer as he continues to hold Nigeria accountable, but more engagement from both the UN and the international community at large is necessary to prevent this situation from spiraling out of control. The failure to prosecute greatly expands the number of societal actors willing to commit violence in the name of Islam and until that issue is dealt with the violence will continue. Jubilee Campaign pleads with the international community to recognize and respond to this crisis before it grows to genocidal proportions.

 

Prayers for Nigeria Day 10

Dear Friends

Today I leave Nigeria. I’m glad that I was able to come and see first hand what I have read and studied for over a year now. This country is a great country in many ways and its people are free people. I’m so glad for all of the kindness that people showed me and the outright courage that it took sit down and talk with me.

As I prepare to leave I chuckle remembering how different the manners of people in the North are. I met a convert who bowed deeply to me and I did not make a big deal of it because of the cultural difference. But hearing that man’s story, knowing what he has given up, what he lost for the sake of Christ. I should have bowed to him, I should have honored him. I know he didn’t see it that way but I wish that I could have given him the honor that he was due.

Its a funny thing going on a human rights trip. I met with leaders of the Sayawa people from a place called Tafawa Balewa, its a Christian enclave in the south of the Muslim dominated Bauchi State. After hearing the discrimination and deprivation that they have suffered, I told them that a small human rights NGO like Jubilee Campaign could not solve their problem. But I promised them that we would never forget them.

I made that promise as a member of a human rights organization which advocates for ethnic and religious minorities. But I was the one who made the promise. Even if circumstances change and I have to leave Jubilee Campaign, I will never forget them. I will never forget their plight, their courage in the face of overwhelming odds, their commitment to Christ against all the world has thrown at them.

Part of honor is knowing that sometimes obligations come upon you suddenly, without notice. Sometime honor may require you to give more than you ever dreamed you would need to. I can already feel the weight of new obligations settling on me, and I know that I will need help to bear them.

Let us pray.

Lord I thank you for the success of this trip. Though there were challenges and confusion, You worked things out to give us an amazingly broad and effective trip.

I thank you for the kindness of those who opened their homes to me. I thank you for the boldness with which pastors and ordinary Christians told me of the trials that they had suffered.

Lord as I go back to comfortable safe America, I pray that you would be with them. Lord I pray that no harm would come to them as a result of them meeting with me. Lord I pray for Nigeria, for the endemic corruption that holds them down, but the indomitable spirit that drives them up up and on. I thank you for the life and joy that is in them. Lord I praise you for the freedom that you have given them. It is beautiful.

Lord I pray for those in the North. I pray that you would protect the Christians from harm. I pray that the Muslims would realize that Boko Haram brings nothing but death. I pray for the security forces that have already realized that. Lord I pray that you would enable the police and the military to do their jobs with integrity.

Lord I pray that key people in the U.S. State Department and the U.N. would come to their senses and realize that this is not some local ethnic problem. This is religious extremism and it has grown strong enough to threaten all of Nigeria.

Lord I pray that Nigeria would not fall into chaos, or under the hand of a brutal oppressive regime like Iran. Let there be peace, true peace, not the uneasy tension which hovers over so many of the places that I visited.

Lord I pray for travel mercies as I leave this place and return to my own country. But Lord I pray that you would keep the memories fresh. Let me never forget the truth of what I have seen. I pray that you would make me able to keep the promises I have made.

In Jesus Name

Amen.

Prayers for Nigeria Day 9

Dear Friends

Today we were able to visit the northern state of Kano and meet with some of the Christians there. Kano is of particular interest to the Jubilee Campaign, because the Boko Haram attacks were targeted attacks on government buildings which killed far more Muslims than Christians. This was the most dangerous part of our trip by far and we are grateful that God kept us safe throughout it.

Due to this bloodshed, the eyes of some of the leaders of Kano have been opened to the reality that Boko Haram will not stop until their ideology is triumphant. As we are well aware that ideology dictates the death of Christians, but it also requires the vast majority of Nigeria’s Muslims to compromise their convictions or face death as well. We were even encouraged to hear of Muslim leaders who have explicitly and publicly condemned the Boko Haram. Unfortunately, those Muslims who do proclaim their opposition to the Boko Haram are quickly killed or forced to flee the area, silencing their voices.

Some other exciting things happened to us in Kano, but I’ll leave that for another day.

Lord,

I thank you for the Christians that endure in the far north and I pray that you will keep them safe in this lethal new world that they find themselves in.

Lord I thank you that the evil of Boko Haram has finally been recognized by some leaders of the Muslim community in Kano, but we grieve for the souls whose fate is now beyond the reach of the Gospel. Lord I pray for discernment for your pastors in the North, they desperately need wisdom in knowing who to trust. Lord unless people can build trust then there will never be peace in the north, but if they give their trust to the wrong people then the violence will only increase.

Lord I pray that you would preserve the Muslims who recognize that Boko Haram is evil. Lord I pray that even those Muslims who desire Nigeria to be an Islamic nation will recognize that the terrorism of Boko Haram is destruction which begets destruction and it cannot build anything. I pray that the Muslims would see that unless they unite against these terrorists that there will be no more Nigeria.

Lord I pray for those of your people who have been humiliated by the northern Muslims until they are shamed and weak in their own eyes. I pray that you would strengthen their hearts and allow them to lift their heads up high. And I pray that their unashamed passion for Christ will bring a great harvest for the Kingdom.

Lord preserve your people

Amen.