Washington D.C., Aug 7, 2013 / 03:12 am America/Denver (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.”