By Martin Roth
The Baptist Press publishes an excellent, lengthy, in-depth account of the persecution of Christians in Nigeria, mainly by Boko Haram. The introduction is harrowing:
The publicly reported Christian casualties in Nigeria last year were greater than the Christian casualties of Pakistan, Syria, Kenya and Egypt combined. In fact, Nigeria alone accounted for almost 70 percent of Christians killed globally. This makes Nigeria the most lethal country for Christians by a huge margin.
But then there is this:
While Boko Haram’s bloody terrorist tactics certainly merit serious concern, the focus on this group has overshadowed a pattern of systemic religious violence in Nigeria. It obfuscates the pervasive history of the killing of Christians by Muslims in northern Nigeria going back over a quarter century.
…Consider the street level. The most serious attack on the Christian community in Nigeria’s recent history was not carried out by Boko Haram or any organized Islamic sect. Rather, it was an act of ordinary Muslims across most northern states. This anti-Christian pogrom, referred to as the “post-election violence,” deserves examination as a bellwether of the real conditions in Nigeria’s tottering political union.
In April 2011, in what was dubbed one of the “freest and fairest” elections in Nigeria’s recent history, Goodluck Jonathan was elected president. Before his victory was announced, violence erupted in the 12 northern sharia states — again.
The final toll for the Christian community was staggering. In a 48-hour period, 764 church buildings were burned, 204 Christians were confirmed killed, more than 3,100 Christian-operated businesses, schools, and shops were burned, and more than 3,400 Christian homes were destroyed. While there have been similar death tolls in certain incidents in terms of scope and coordinated scale of destruction, there has been no equivalent attack against the church in recent decades, with the possible exception of government-backed genocides in Sudan.
Please read – if you can bear it – the entire excellent article.