Boko Haram’s War on Christians
The world is finally waking up. We are finally outraged and shocked by the brutality of the kidnapping of girls, mostly Christians, by the Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram.
Finally, the majority of those in the media seem to be paying attention. The daily reports worsen as the brazenness of the evil nature of this most recent act of kidnapping young girls to be sold into slavery becomes apparent.
The Christian Association of Nigeria released the names of the girls. It appears that government leaders are at least trying to act in an effective, coordinated response to this urgent matter.
The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, gave an interview to Vatican Radio on May 6, 2014. Here is an excerpt from the summary:
We are all ashamed,” said Archbishop of Abuja Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan in an interview with Emer McCarthy. “The fact that, up until now we are hearing practically nothing concrete on the issue, I think almost every Nigerian is taken aback. We cannot explain what is happening.
Cardinal Onaiyekan noted that while many schools had closed due to threats of attack by Boko Haram, this most recent incident took place at a school that had temporarily reopened to allow the girls the opportunity to complete their final exams in a secure environment, “so that they would not lose out completely”.
According to the Cardinal, the soldiers who were tasked with defending the students were unable to prevent the terrorists from invading the town and school. Cardinal Onaiyekan says the Nigerian people are baffled by the government’s inability to locate the girls, taking into account its massive size and budgetary support:
“We know that Boko Haram have no sense of humanity. We know that they are killing innocent people. But that they should be able to cart away almost 300 children in the Northeast of Nigeria without any trace of where these children are really baffles us.”
The Christian Post confirmed what many other reports have not made clear. The majority of these kidnapped girls are Christians.
Of course, the kidnapping of any child is an intolerable evil and heinous crime. The acknowledged intent to sell these girls into slavery properly shocks the conscience of the world. However, the explicitly anti-Christian nature of the kidnapping is receiving little press notice.
A May 6, 2014 article entitled “Most of Boko Haram Kidnapped Schoolgirls Are Christians, Nigerian Evangelist Says” noted:
With reports that the girls are being sold as brides to the Islamic militants for $12.00 each, the parents and Christian groups have called on the Nigerian military and the government of President Goodluck Jonathan to do all they can to find the girls.
On Monday, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau admitted that his group is responsible for the kidnapping of over 200 girls from Chibok, Borno State last month, and said that he plans to have them sold on the market. “I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah,” Shekau, said in the video translated by CNN. “There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women.”
These reports only confirm numerous other reports over the many years that this evil, Islamist sect has been explicitly terrorizing the Christians of Nigeria. I have written many times concerning the explicitly anti-Christian acts of terror. Boko Haram hates Christians.
For example, on Wednesday, March 7, 2012, six armed men killed a customs official, a five-year-old boy and at least two others. They did so intentionally and in cold blood. They did so in the name of Allah.
They set fire to a police station, a government building and two churches, one Catholic and one belonging to the Christian Brethren church. They blew up vehicles, motorcycles and terrorized a town for three hours — all, once again, in the name of Allah. This group has been terrorizing northern Nigeria for many years. They boast as they take responsibility for their evil and horrific behavior, without any remorse or regret.
On Thursday, March 8, 2012, they killed a British and an Italian hostage. None of the reports indicated how the murders occurred but, the track record of similar jihadists like these folks points to beheadings. We must always remember Danny Pearl!
The two victims in 2012 were innocent engineers who were kidnapped in May of 2011. Efforts to negotiate for their release were unsuccessful. So too were efforts to rescue them.
I reported on the horrible bombing outside of St Theresa’s Catholic Church on Christmas Day, 2011. That evil act, perpetrated by these Islamic terrorists who proudly refer to themselves as the “Nigerian Taliban,” was followed by an ultimatum issued to Christians in northern Nigeria to leave in three days or face further violence.
A spokesman for Boko Haram told reporters in 2011:
…our Muslim brothers are advised to return to the north, because we have evidence that they will be attacked. We also issue a three-day ultimatum to the southerners living in the north of Nigeria, to leave. We have serious indications to suggest that the soldiers only kill the innocent Muslims in areas where government has declared a state of emergency. We will face them decisively to protect our brothers.
That was nonsense. There have been no attacks on Muslims in Nigeria. In fact, good and caring Muslims who clearly reject the violence of this evil group have become the victims of their terror.
The phrase “Boko Haram” means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language. These Islamist terrorists hate all things “western” and Christian. They are militant jihadists who have expressed their intention to forcibly establish an Islamic Caliphate and impose Shariah Law on everyone.
They are also called “al-Sunnah wal Jamma,” or “Followers of the Prophet’s Teachings.” They refer to themselves officially as “Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad,” which means “people committed to the propagation of the prophet’s teachings and Jihad.” They are murderers and terrorists who use a twisted appeal to Islam to attempt to justify their overtly evil acts.
After the Christmas bombings, a spokesman claimed responsibility in an interview with a local newspaper called The Daily Trust, boasting,
There will never be peace, until our demands are met. We want all our brothers who have been incarcerated to be released; we want full implementation of the Sharia system and we want democracy and the constitution to be suspended.
Vatican Radio reported that same year that Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos, the vice president of the Nigerian Bishop’s Conference, urged Nigerians to not to allow their country to be overtaken by terror:
Churches have been destroyed and lives were lost and there is no sign that this might end, until the government intervenes decisively.
We continue to ask Christians to be vigilant and aware of the issue of safety when they go to church and even in their own homes. We have appealed that there be no retaliation and we continue to preach peace, hoping that all of us in Nigeria, Muslims and Christians, we will be able to work and live happily together. This is our position: no violence, no retaliation. We want to live in peace.
On the day after that bloody Christmas bombing in 2011, the Feast of St. Stephen the Deacon and Proto-Martyr, a visibly burdened Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI spoke to the faithful gathered for the Angelus prayer. He spoke from his heart, urging prayers for those whose, “lands are drenched in innocent blood.”
The Pope reminded the faithful that St. Stephen gave his life for his Christian faith. He spoke of his heroic witness, noting that even as he was being stoned to death he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,” and begged forgiveness for his accusers. He extolled the witness of the early martyrs of the Church, a topic which he frequently addressed in the last few years of his service in the Chair of Peter.
Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office said in a statement, “Regretfully the attacks at the Church of Saint Theresa in Abuja, timed to coincide with Christmas Day celebrations, are once again the expression of the cruelty of blind and absurd hatred devoid of any respect for human life and represent an attempt to generate and fuel further hatred and confusion.
“We express our closeness to the suffering of the Church and of all the Nigerian people who have been affected by violent terrorism even during these days that should be of joy and peace,” he added. “While we pray for the victims, we also express the hope that this senseless violence will not weaken the will for peaceful cohabitation and dialogue in the nation.”
The word “martyr” derives from a Greek word which means “witness.” The Catholic faith proclaims that the shedding of one’s blood in fidelity to Jesus Christ is the final witness to the Faith. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that:
Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith: it means bearing witness even unto death. The martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity. He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine. He endures death through an act of fortitude (CCC #2471 – 2473).
As someone who remembers the cold war, even to the point of drills where we hid under our desks, all of this calls to mind the great need for a national resolve. Militant, extremist jihadist Islam makes the distant threat of Marxism look mild in comparison.
The victims of this kind of evil are often being killed precisely because they are Christians. The blood of the martyrs seems to be flowing these days as militant Islamic terrorism increases and establishes a new beachhead in Africa.
For Catholics and other Christians, we cannot — we must not — fail to act. Africa is one of the great centers of the renewal of the Church in the Third Millennium. We are living in a new missionary age.
The words attributed to Tertullian in the second century of the Church still hold out their promise: “The blood of the Martyrs is the seed of the Church.” We are living in a new missionary age. Pray for our brethren in Africa. Also, understand the implications of the evil designs of Boko Haram.
A spokesman for Boko Haram announced in 2012 they were planning a “war on Christians.” They told a local reporter, “We will create so much effort to end the Christian presence in our push to have a proper Islamic state that the Christians won’t be able to stay.”
Now it is clear, they will stop at nothing, including the kidnapping of innocent young girls.
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