Loading
Expert urges US to address Nigeria violence against Christians
By Adelaide Mena
Paul Marshall speaks during a panel discussion at the Hudson Institute on March 27, 2013. Credit: Addie Mena/CNA.
Paul Marshall speaks during a panel discussion at the Hudson Institute on March 27, 2013. Credit: Addie Mena/CNA.

.- As bombings against Christian churches in Nigeria continue, a religious liberty scholar is calling on the U.S. government to recognize the scope of the problem and take steps to end the violence.

Paul Marshall, senior fellow at the D.C.-based Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, explained that Nigeria has experienced “increased religious violence and attacks on Christians for about 12 years.”

He told CNA on August 5 that the violence has been “worsening a great deal in the last three years, with the rise of Boko Haram – an al Qaeda affiliated militia, that has been targeting Christians, amongst others.”

But despite this rise in violence, he warned, the United States government has yet to “recognize the religious element of the conflict” and take strong steps against the extremist organization.

Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is sinful,” has been responsible for thousands of deaths in recent years, according to human rights groups. The organization has previously stated that its goal is to “purify Islam” and that it intends to “continue to wage war against the Nigerian state until we abolish the secular system and establish an Islamic state.”

A July 29 attack on Christ Salvation Pentecostal Church and two other Christian communities in the northern town of Kano left nearly 50 people dead, the latest in a wave of ongoing violence in the region. Local military forces have said that the attacks appear to be the work of Boko Haram, though the organization has not claimed responsibility for the violence.

Marshall noted that more than 1,000 Christians were killed in 2012, and U.S. State Department reports have noted mass movement of Christians away from the country’s predominantly Muslim north.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom has in its 2011 and 2012 reports highlighted the group’s terrorist attacks against both Christians and Muslims, and stated that the organization has led to “a dramatic deterioration of religious freedom and stability in Nigeria.”

The commission has repeatedly asked the State Department to label Nigeria as a “Country of Particular Concern,” thus allowing the U.S. government to take more forceful action to promote religious freedom in the nation. However, the State Department has not done so.

Marshall commented that Nigerian Christians have a “large and strong community” that may be able to withstand persecution. He took hope in the fact that the “U.S. military is training government forces in West Africa on combatting terrorism.”

But overall, he said, there is “little international activity” in fighting Boko Haram and violence in Nigeria more broadly.

He suggested that the global community target Boko Haram’s aims and modes of attack, adding that the U.S. could “also help in supporting good education in the north of Nigeria” in order to curtail the organization’s recruitment efforts.

Tags: Violence, Nigeria


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
24

Liturgical Calendar

April 24, 2014

Thursday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:35-48

Gospel
Date
04/24/14
04/23/14
04/22/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 3:11-26
Gospel:: Lk 24:35-48

Saint of the Day

Easter Sunday »

Saint
Date
04/24/14
04/22/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 24:35-48

Homily
Date
04/24/14
04/23/14
04/22/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: