“I just cannot believe that Christian leaders and churches aren’t talking about this in every congregation in every corner of the [United States]. Boko Haram killed more Christians than ISIS in the year of the height of ISIS. This is the worst place in the world, at least in the northeast, where these terrorists are.” –Johnnie Moore (Christian Post, Feb. 28, 2020
Johnnie Moore, an evangelical communications executive and president of the Congress of Christian Leaders, and Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights group, traveled to Abuja on Feb. 17 and met with dozens of victims of terrorism from five different Nigerian provinces for three days.
“After our journey there, we want the world to know that you haven’t heard half of it,” the faith leaders said in a joint statement. “The terrorists’ aim is to ethnically cleanse northern Nigeria of its Christians and to kill every Muslim who stands in their way.”
Reports of barbaric overnight raids, attacks, abductions, executions and displacement of civilian communities have become more and more common. In Nigeria, over 2 million people have been displaced.
“This portion of Africa will be ground zero for the next generation’s war on terrorism, and the humanitarian cost of letting these problems fester and multiply in the near term could result in disaster for much of Western Africa,” they said.
“But I can tell you, across every facet of Nigerian society, whether the religious leader was Muslim or Christian or whether the victim was describing something that happened to them in the center of the country or at the hands of ISIS or Boko Haram in the northeast, it was really clear that everyone felt like the government wasn’t doing enough or wasn’t able to do enough.”
They met with four Muslim leaders who said about the terrorists, “They are Muslims who are inappropriately invoking Allahu akbar and the selection process when they come upon a mixed group. If you can’t recite whatever you have to recite, you are going to be executed on the spot. They didn’t deny any of that. They just said, ‘Hey, our communities themselves are often victimized by the same forces and yes, they invoke Islam but they do so inappropriately.”
In Nigeria, one of the most troubling statistics is that millions of children are out of school because of the violence. The two men are calling on the Nigerian government to provide basic protections to its citizens and ensure that children can return to school…. “Otherwise, you’re putting a Band-Aid on four or five different parts of the country,” Cooper argued. “And then when we all wake up, we have — God forbid — another Afghanistan.”
Instead of waiting for international governments and bodies to act on the situation, Cooper and Moore implored Christians in the U.S. and the West to figure out ways they can help protect their brothers and sisters in Nigeria.
“Churches are always targeted around Christmastime,” Cooper said. “There might be some things that can be done privately, from sister churches in the U.S. and elsewhere, to sort of take care of some basic security needs.”
“It isn’t that I’m writing off the international community. It is that there are certain things that just keep happening over and over again. Maybe if there’s an initiative of faithful American Christians over there, that may wake up the dead in the government who might say, ‘Hey, wait for a second, why are you guys coming over to help? We should be doing it.’”
Moore added, “I am very, very disappointed in the silence of Christians for their brothers and sisters on that continent,” he said. “And I hope that all of this provokes some of these leaders not only to raise their voice louder but to do more themselves and not just wait for the governments of the world to act.”
“I just cannot believe that Christian leaders and churches aren’t talking about this in every congregation in every corner of the [United States]. Boko Haram killed more Christians than ISIS in the year of the height of ISIS. This is the worst place in the world, at least in the northeast, where these terrorists are.”