On Sunday October 28, 2012 a church in Nigeria was bombed. At least ten Christians died and over a hundred were injured. Given the time difference, right about the time that we in America were getting up and going to church, the Christians in Kaduna were counting their wounded and burying their dead.
Since 2010, when the Boko Haram re-emerged with Al Qaeda tactics and training, there have been over 275 discrete attacks against the Christian community in Nigeria. These attacks were thought out, requiring planning, moving men and materiel into position and execution. At the current rate, we will most likely break the 300 mark before the end of 2012. That means that for the last three years Christians have been attacked on average once every four days. At last count there have been at least 25 attacks on churches in 2012. That is an attack on a church at least every other week this year. Please keep in mind that these number do not include the anti-Christian mob violence in April 2011 which destroyed over 700 churches and thousands of Christian homes and businesses.
This most recent attack was against St. Rita’s Catholic Church in Kaduna and the story is heartrendingly familiar to Jubilee Campaign and all who have been following the attacks in Nigeria this year. Once again, a vehicle was packed with explosives and rammed into a church before the suicide bomber detonated, killing 10 and wounding many more. This story is virtually identical to nearly every other church bombing we have reported on this year, and there is no end in sight.
Now think about that for a moment. It has been almost two years since the first massive church attacks took place in Nigeria in Christmas of 2010. There have been at least 25 attacks on churches this year, and there is no end in sight. How can this be?
Several months ago, the US State Department publicly declared that Boko Haram did not deserve the label of terrorist. They decided that attacking innocent civilians, bombing churches, and calling for jihad against the West was not a big enough deal to disturb the narrative the administration was busy fabricating for US domestic consumption, which is that terrorism was something of the past. That lie allowed Boko Haram to keep on killing Christians and has made the US complicit in the air of impunity that rules Nigeria.
What makes this all so horrifically pointless is that with the recent deaths of four Americans including a US Ambassador, that narrative has been shown to be utterly false. As an American I feel the outrage that the current Administration allowed 4 men to die in order to prop up a political agenda. But as a Christian my grief, and my outrage grows to encompass the thousands of Christians in Nigeria, Sudan, Egypt, Pakistan, and throughout the Muslim world, whose deaths have been ignored, downplayed or outright denied. Make no mistake, these hundreds of our brothers and sisters in Christ have been sacrificed to this same political agenda. The fact that this agenda has just failed in rather spectacular fashion is cold comfort to those who have buried fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives and children.
The truth is out now. Terrorism is alive and well, and Islamic extremist groups continue to claim thousands of victims a year. Some of those victims are Americans, but we cannot forget the many, many more victims who are not. Regardless of what happens in the election, America needs to wake up and realize that the enemies of freedom are alive and well, and the Church needs to cry out for those of her members who on the front lines of this conflict.
As this Sunday, the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church draws nearer, we urge you to keep Nigeria in your prayers.
Lord Save Your People!