500 Christians Slaughtered in Nigeria (link corrected)

The story is in The Times Online. This is a very distressing. Pray for the Christians of Nigeria.

There is a large Reformed presence in the south of Nigeria. The Reformed presence in the north is scattered. They have suffered a great deal at the hands of violent Muslim fanatics.

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  1. The story may be in Times Online, but the link doesn’t work!

    A BBC correspondent was reporting that the description of Nigerian inter-religious violence is a convenient cover for local politicians, whose behaviour is partly responsible for the riots:

    ‘These killings are often painted by local politicians as a religious or sectarian conflict. In fact it is a struggle between ethnic groups for fertile land and resources in the region known as Nigeria’s Middle Belt.’

    The religious divisions tend to align tribally, and this correspondent was saying that the real tensions are ethnic and political, to do with government treatment of minority ethnic groups. This BBC article describes the situation:

    In other words, there may well be an element of persecution there, but there’s more than just suffering for the faith, there are also questions of majority (Christian) behaviour towards minority (Muslim) neighbours.

    • Philip,

      What you’re arguing for concerning this specific massacre may be true, however, this is NOT the only massacre that has happened in Nigeria recently. There are many more massacres that took place in the recent past. And, contrary to what you’re trying to imply, many of those massacres happened in the north of Nigeria where Muslims are the MAJORITY.

      How do I know this? My family lived in Nigeria for more than a decade. My own sisters witnessed the massacre that took place in Kaduna. They themselves saw beheaded BODIES LITTERING THE STREETS. My sisters told me that they’re sure that Muslim rioters did it. That was also what the news report then said.

      After 9/11, in Kano, there were Muslim fanatics that were hailing Osama Bin Laden as a hero. Soon after that, there were many riots that led to the murder of people identified as Christians that took place. Kano is known for its Muslim majority and their insistent demand that Sharia Law should be imposed on the whole population. Do you even know what the penalty is for “infidels” under Sharia Law?

      The Western world cares so much about being politically correct. Well, I don’t care about PC. Damn political correctness! Don’t misunderstand me. I have no wish to advocate hatred towards a specific religious group. However, if the witnesses say they’re sure that it was Muslims that did it and that they were shouting, “ALLAHU AKBAR!” then shouldn’t such testimony outweigh the theories of people who probably never witnessed it?

      BTW, Here is the link to the Times article:

      • Joel, I’m sure it’s personally distressing for you to read stories of things like this happening again, but you shouldn’t misunderstand what I’m saying, which is focussed very tightly on this specific incident. That there are wider problems in Nigeria, including religious persecution and religiously-inspired violence, I do not deny. Kano, as you mention, is a far more dangerous place to be a Christian.

        But that is different from classifying everything which goes on in Nigeria as persecution. Indeed, in a country with a north-south religio-ethnic divide (not unlike other parts of coastal West Africa, in my experience) it would be surprising to find that all outbreaks of violence have the same causal substructures. Not all violence against Christians is persecution.

        Further, it is not ‘political correctness’ which motivates me to confess that Christians can be guilty in these situations: it is theological correctness. Christians are not perfect, and sadly at times like this we can fall to the temptation to behave in ways which exacerbate, rather than pacify, the situation. We mourn with our Nigerian brothers and sisters who have lost loved ones, and we are not unaware of the dangers of persecution, but surely we who confess simul iustus et peccator should not close our eyes to the possibility that Christians have been failing to love their Muslim neighbours as themselves.

        • “In other words, there may well be an element of persecution there, but there’s more than just suffering for the faith, there are also questions of majority (Christian) behaviour towards minority (Muslim) neighbours.”

          Here’s the problem I have with this assertion, Phillip (and it may well be true): the same story is repeated the world over by violent Muslims. Muslim terrorists are always painting themselves as the plucky persecuted minority even as they slaughter and behead non-Christian minorities. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the Phillipines says the same thing to justify its actions. The Malay Muslim terrorists of southern Thailand say the same thing as they behead buddhist Thai monks. The Kashmir Islamic terrorists use the same line to justify violence against non-Muslim Indians, despite the fact that a Pakistani mufti recently visited and stated that he found no persecution of Muslims whatsoever there. The Chechyan Islamic terrorists likewise used their “persecution” as a justification for Beslan.

          Where’d they learn such behavior and dubious use of pretext? Muhammad himself. Muhammad used “persecution” as a justification of the ethnic cleansing of the entire Arabian peninsula of non-Muslims.

          We Christians always fail to love our neighbors as ourselves because of our sinfulness. But we need to apply Ockham’s razor in these cases, not his butterknife.

    • Philip,

      The situation in Nigeria is very complex and doubtless some of what is happening is about long-standing tribal tensions. Doubtless Christians have sinned against Muslims and my information about Nigeria (apart from what I read in the media) comes exclusively from Christians. That said, the picture I have is of violent Muslim repression of Christianity. The Nigerian Christians I’ve known (as their teacher here at WSC) have been lovely, gracious people. They aren’t “political.” They haven’t set anyone’s house on fire. They haven’t attacked anyone but they’ve had their houses burned and they’ve fled for their lives just ahead of rampaging, violent Muslims.

      So far as I know, the Reformed folk in the south (the Tiv) are peaceful folk. They story they tell me is that the Christians, not just certain tribes, are suffering considerably. Some of this violence seems to cross tribal boundaries and to be chiefly religious.

      The link above is corrected.

      • I think I must have completely miscommunicated. My apologies.

        For the sake of clarity, I’m not blaming our Nigerian brothers and sisters for what’s happening, and I’m certainly not trying to be an apologist for violent extremists. I’m not making assertions about specific individuals. I’m not saying that people from the majority-Muslim tribes are in the right and people from majority-Christian tribes are in the wrong.

        All I’m saying is that this is more complicated than a simple case of Muslim persecution of Christians, although no doubt some Muslims in Nigeria want to see it that way. Politics, history, culture, and language are all a part of the mix. If all the Christians converted to Islam tomorrow but nothing else changed, I doubt that Jos would became a haven of peace and stability. That’s all.

  2. I appreciate you speaking out on this Dr. Clark. When everything is measured by political correctness, this is the only place (among limited number of sites I usually read and listen) I found the story of Nigeria re-ported by a scholar-pastor.

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