Muslim militants in Nigeria brutally executed 11 Christians on Christmas, capping a year-long “open season” that saw more than 1,000 Christians killed by Muslims who considered it their right and duty to do so.
Donning orange jumpsuits reminiscent of the Libyan Muslims who killed 21 Christians on a beach in 2015, militants from the Boko Haram-related Islamic State West African province either shot in the back of their heads or slit their throats on video. Targeting of Christians on Christmas is common in the Muslim world.
“The message is to the Christians of the world,” a spokesman for the group says in both Arabic and Hausa in the video, according to Christianity Today. “Those who you see in front of us are Christians, and we will shed their blood as revenge for the two dignified sheikhs.”
Those two are Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the former ISIS caliph killed by US troops in an October raid in Syria and Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir, his purported successor, killed the next day, Christianity Today reported.
These types of attacks occur because many Muslims can’t conceive of a secular government and therefore think America is a “Christian nation.” According to the Koran, a nation must be governed by religious leaders.
With a population of 200 million, Nigeria is evenly divided between Muslims and Christians, but with the advent of al-Qaeda and ISIS, extremists have been agitating in marginalized zones to take over semi-secular governments through Africa and Southeast Asia.
In its report, Britain’s Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust estimated that 6,000 Christians have been killed by Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen since 2015. Another 12,000 left their native areas and sought safety elsewhere as refugees.
“Islamist Fulani militia continue to engage in an aggressive and strategic land grabbing policy in Plateau, Benue, Tarab, Southern Kaduna and parts of Bauchi state,” the HART report stated. “They attack rural villages, force villagers off their lands and settle in their place — a strategy that is epitomized by the phrase: Your land or your blood.”
The Nigerian House of Representatives has classified the slaughter as a genocide but has failed to employ meaningful measures to halt it, according to reports.
“Every day we carry new corpses to the cemetery,” a Nigerian pastor said. “They kill farmers. They destroy our homes and churches. They kidnap and rape women.”
The International Crisis Group estimates that extremist Muslims comprise between 3,500 and 5,000 militants in Nigeria.
“These agents of darkness are enemies of our common humanity, and they don’t spare victims, whether they are Muslims or Christians” said Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, according to al-Jazeera news.
Johnnie Moore, of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom criticized Nigeria for its tepid response to terrorists. “The ongoing execution of Christians by terrorist in Nigeria is a shame to the entire world,” he noted on Twitter. “No one, whatever faith, should fear for their lives. Nigeria must do more to stop this.”
In terms of killing in 2015, Boko Haram surpassed ISIS by a few hundred, slaying 6,664 victims, according to the Global Terrorism Index.
Open Doors ranks Nigeria #12 among the worst countries on its persecution list. In addition to killing the faithful, Muslim extremists attacked 569 churches and 29,444 homes and shops, its report says.
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