Referencing the Book of Job, he noted how some of Job’s friends were silent for days in the midst of the protagonist’s suffering. “One of the things we are probably not doing is thinking through more carefully what the issues are,” the bishop said of the need for reflection amid the current situation in Nigeria.
In the northeast, women and schoolgirls have been abducted by the hundreds, and men have been killed and abducted by terrorists. In the country’s Kaduna state, 121 students were abducted by terrorists last week from Bethel Baptist school.
“We already have failed states within a failed state,” Rev. Johnnie Moore, commissioner with the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, said on Wednesday. In the country’s northeast, he said that “it is not inconceivable” that a territorial caliphate could rise to a level greater than that of the former Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which lasted from 2014 until 2019.
ADF International on Wednesday recognized Leah Sharibu, one of 110 girls kidnapped in 2018 from Dapchi school in the country’s Yobe state. She reportedly refused to convert to Islam, and is the only remaining student of the 110 who has not been released from captivity.
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Tony Perkins, USCIRF commissioner, has adopted Sharibu as a prisoner of conscience.
In December 2020, the U.S. State Department took the unprecedented step of declaring Nigeria a “country of particular concern” – a designation reserved for the countries with the worst records of protecting religious freedom.
“We’re seeing a lot of religious-tinged violence taking place in that country and indeed in West Africa,” said Sam Brownback, the U.S. religious freedom ambassador at the time.
“A major concern for us is the lack of adequate government response in Nigeria,” he added.
Matt Hadro was the political editor at Catholic News Agency through October 2021. He previously worked as CNA senior D.C. correspondent and as a press secretary for U.S. Congressman Chris Smith.