RELIGIOUS LIBERTY ALERTS
September 1, 2011
SOURCES: (National Post, BBC News, Global Security, Wikipedia, Compass Direct, DFAIT)
VIDEO: (Open Doors, Open Doors - recent, Associated Press - Bombing of UN Building)
On July 30 and 31 Muslim initiated violence broke out against Christians in Jos, Nigeria leaving five dead and injuring 12. Five days later two bombs exploded near churches in Jos. One near a Baptist Church that had previously been attacked by Muslim extremists, and the other near two churches closely situated to one another, according to police reports. At that time, fears were intensifying with the anticipation of more attacks by the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, which claimed responsibility.
Boko Haram opposes Christianity, Western education, science and culture, and wants to implement a strict form of Shari’a, or Islamic law.
As recently as January 2011, 100 Christians were killed and more injured in the Angwan Rukuba area of Jos. It was later confirmed by security agencies that these bombs were planted by members of the Boko Haram sect.
From August 11 to 21, in numerous cities and villages in Nigeria’s northern Plateau State (Rasta Foron village, Heipang village, and Kwi, Lonto and Jwol villages), Boko Haram, allegedly with the help of Nigerian army personnel, killed 24 Christians. A family of nine were among the victims.
Eye witnesses, in more than one instance, identified members of the Nigerian army (some from their own community) assisting the Boko Haram in the assault. One witness claimed that the army personel were members of the Nigerian Government's Special Task Force (STF) a unit intended to stop sectarian attacks.
Plateau State Gov. Jonah Jang called for immediate withdrawal of the Nigerian army because, he said, Muslims in the army have taken sides with Islamist assailants.
On August 26, an attack by the Boko Haram on the UN headquarters in the Nigerian capital of Abuja killed 18 people and cast an international spotlight on the Islamist sect. A statement from the Boko Haram asserted that the reason for their attack was because Western influence is supporting the Nigerian Federal government in persecuting Muslims. One spokesperson for the group, Abu Zaid, said they consider the United States (or Western influence), the UN and Nigerian government to be a common enemy and will continue attacks on them because “it is the right of Muslims to do so”.
Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs , John Baird, strongly condemned the attack on the UN facility in Nigeria, stating that “Canada firmly supports the people and the Government of Nigeria in their efforts to bring about a secure, stable, unified and democratic country. “
Nigeria is currently #23 on Open Doors World Watch List. Muslim initiated clashes with Christians happen regularly in the 11 Northern states of Nigeria where the Islamic system of Shari’a law rules. These incidents have left people dead, churches burned and more than 30,000 Christians displaced from their homes in Kano, the largest city in northern Nigeria.
Christians in Nigeria, particularly in Northern Nigeria, are currently in great danger of attack and persecution, particularly by the Boko Haram. As attacks intensify, we need to pray for all Christians in Nigeria (especially for Christians in Northern Nigeria), and let us also pray for all the victims and the families of the victims of the recent bombing of the UN Building in Nigeria.
· Pray for the safety and courage of Christians in Nigeria, particularly those in the Northern regions who live in the most intense areas of persecution.
· Pray for the protection of all churches, businesses and homes belonging to believers in Christ.
· Pray for the victims of the August 26 bombing of the UN Buildings in Abuja. Also pray for the families of those who lost loved ones.
· Pray for the Nigerian government, that they would be able to maintain a strong, firm and fair hand on extremist groups like the Boko Haram.
· Pray for religious freedom for all minorities in Nigeria.
Learn about Nigeria from:
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
U.S. CIA: World Fact Book (look for "The World Fact Book on Redirect Page, then "Nigeria")
Learn about religious freedom and human rights in Nigeria from:
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
Human Rights Watch
Voice of the Martyrs
In obedience to the Scriptures, the purpose of The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s Religious Liberty Commission is to promote religious freedom as a fundamental human right*, with a particular focus on Christians. It does this by providing expertise, information and resources to equip, mobilize and network Canadians and organizations, and to influence public policy.
*In accordance with Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the 1981 UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.