“It seems to me that we cannot ignore the fact that Christians in the Middle East are increasingly being deliberately targeted by fundamentalist Islamist militants.”
Charles, Prince of Wales, December 17, 2013
Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East face an existential threat. They may soon be gone.
What is happening? Forced displacement; kidnapping for ransom; sexual slavery; executions; attacks on places of worship; pressure to convert to Islam.
Who? Mainly violent Islamist extremist groups, sometimes sup- ported by Western governments and their Islamist allies like Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar.
Why? Islamist extremists seek to assert supremacy over non-Muslims, and impose discriminatory sharia norms on the whole of society, often using violence. This reduces non-Muslims to second-class citizens or worse.
Nigeria is one of the deadliest countries in the world for non-Muslims. Christians in the northern part of the country are particularly vulnerable.
- What is happening? Destructions of Christian villages; forced conversions; displacement; abductions and kidnapping; forced labor; summary executions; attacks on churches and public places; denial of basic services; political marginalization.
- How? Christians are under attack by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram in north-eastern Nigeria, as well as bands of well-armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen in the Middle Belt region. Christians are also discriminated against, especially in the 12 northern states ruled by sharia law.
- Why? Islamist extremists seek to assert supremacy over non-Muslims, and impose discriminatory sharia norms on the whole of society, often using violence. This reduces non-Muslims to second class citizens or worse.
Christian Solidarity International (CSI), an NGO campaigning for religious freedom, issued a Genocide Warning for Nigeria on January 30, 2020, and called on the Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council to take appropriate action to prevent genocide in Africa’s largest country.
CSI issued this Genocide Warning in response to a rising tide of violence directed against Nigerian Christians and others classified as “infidels” by Islamist militants in the country’s north and middle belt regions.
1,000 Christians in Nigeria are reported to have been killed by Islamist militias over the past year, with 6,000 murdered since 2015, according to the most conservative estimates from Nigerian Christian sources. In the past five weeks alone:
- The Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) released a video showing the murder of Ropvil Daciya Dalep, a Christian student at the University of Maiduguri (Jan 23).
- Rev Dennis Bagauri was shot to death at his home in Adamawa state (Jan 20).
- Fulani militants attacked 11 Christian villages in southern Kaduna state and Plateau state, killing 50 and kidnapping 58 (Jan. 6-13).
- Boko Haram terrorists beheaded Martha Bulus and her two bridesmaids as they were en route to her wedding in Borno State (Dec. 26).
- ISWAP released a video showing 11 Christians being beheaded, in what the Islamic State claims was revenge for the killing of their “caliph,” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (Dec 26).
“Christians have become an endangered species in their own country,” warned CAN’s President, Dr. Samson Ayokunle on 23 January. “Nigeria”, he continued, “is under a siege orchestrated by the murderous bloodthirsty and criminally-minded Boko Haram terrorists, Fulani terrorist herdsmen, bandits and kidnappers.” Ayokunle called the government to account for its inaction in the face of the escalating conflict and the culture of impunity in Nigeria.
Christian Solidarity International (CSI) has issued a Genocide Warning for Christian communities and other religious minorities in North Africa and the broader Islamic Middle East!