Prophesy or Prejudice? The plight of Nigeria’s Christians

A Foretaste of the Future?

“And of course as London, Paris, Moscow and an ever-increasing number of cities around the world are finding out, this does not only affect Nigeria. Perhaps it just affects Nigeria first, and, as well as being a reminder of our past, the Christians of Nigeria are also a portent of our possible future.”

Douglass Murray

Douglas Murray

The SMA Communications Centre quoted Douglass Murray from his Spectator article (4 February 2017) “Who Will Protect Nigeria’s Northern Christians?”

In it Murray, an associate editor of the Spectator, offered a chilling warning: “Every week, more massacres – another village burned, its church raized, its inhabitants slaughtered, raped or chased away. A young woman, whose husband and two children have just been killed in front of her, tells me blankly, “Our parents told us about these people. But we lived in relative peace, and we forgot what they said.”

On May 4, 2017, Bloombury published Murray’s latest book, The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam.

In advance of its publication, the Catholic Herald (6 April) carried the following provocative headline from an article penned by Murray: “A hidden slaughter: Meeting Nigeria’s endangered Christians”, with the sub-titled question: “Why is their plight of so little interest to the wider world?”

Boko Haram Jihadists

Murray points to the abduction of the 300 Chibok schoolgirls by Boko Haram in 2014 as the one time the plight of Christians in the region managed to achieve international headlines. “But,” he writes, “for the Christians of Nigeria the Chibok case raises daily questions. Not least because what happened in 2014 is merely a large-scale version of something that occurs all the time.”

Fulani Herdsmen

Murray also focused on Nigeria’s Middle Belt where Plateau and Kaduna States nestle. Here too Christians, especially in isolated villages, are targeted by Fulani tribesmen, given, he suggests, freereign by police and military.

He wonders why the rest of the world is ignoring the daily targeting of Christians. The British Foreign Office and the United Nations mistakenly believe the killings are tit-for-tat land disputes, which he sees as “an excuse not to act.”

For Christians in the south of Nigeria, the plight of fellow-Christians in the north is “a world away”.

Murray suggests also that the Governemnt, mired in corruption and lead by a Fulani President, have a ‘not-so-hidden’ agenda ‘to make… the fertile northern half of the country… a Christian-free area.’

Archbishop Ignatius KAIGAMA, President, CBCN

He then considers the silence of the rest of the Christian world. Anglicans and Catholic communities, including pastors and hierarchy, have been targeted. Before there was a hesitancy to protest out of fear. But that is deminishing. The Catholic Archbishop of Jos, Ignatius Kaigama, on behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, has called on the Government to be “more proactive” in protecting Christians.

Murray points a finger at Christians internationally for the failure to speak out. “If the Christian churches won’t speak up for their own flock, why should anyone else speak up for them?”

Nigerian Police and Military accused of standing idly by

Consequently, he argues, because of their silence, ‘the western and northern hemisphere churches bear a great deal of blame.’

‘Nigeria,’ Murray says, ‘may yet be a testing ground for the wider world.’

“Christians who fled Maiduguri told me,” he says, “that in generations past their families got on well with Muslims. It is the intolerant strains of the religion that have been imported in recent years that have reopened the conflict.”

Murray then concludes with a controversial supposition that might be interpreted as either prophesy or prejudice:

“And of course as London, Paris, Moscow and an ever-increasing number of cities around the world are finding out, this does not only affect Nigeria. Perhaps it just affects Nigeria first, and, as well as being a reminder of our past, the Christians of Nigeria are also a portent of our possible future.”

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