A French philosopher has made an impassioned call for the protection of Nigerian Christians who are undergoing severe persecution after witnessing the attacks and carnage for himself.
Bernard-Henri Lévy “issued an SOS” for Christians in Nigeria, asking, “Will history be repeated in Nigeria?” referring to the Rwandan genocide of 1994 in an article for the French magazine Paris Match. “Will we wait, as usual, for the disaster to be consumed in order to be moved? And will we remain idly by while the Islamist international, contained in Asia, fought in Europe, defeated in Syria and Iraq, opens a new front on this immense land where the sons of Abraham coexisted for a long time? This is what is at stake on this journey to the heart of the Nigerian darkness.”
“We’re asking many of the same questions,” said Dede Laugesen, executive director for Save the Persecuted Christians (STPC), a bipartisan, multi-faith coalition of nearly 200 civil society, faith, and community leaders who—bolstered by thousands of impassioned Americans and others—are daily praying and advocating for more than 300 million persecuted Christians globally.
STPC has urged a U.S. special envoy to Nigeria and the Lake Chad region because of extreme and heightened violence against Christians there. At least 1,000 Christians were killed in 2019, with more than 5,000 killed since 2015, according to a recent report by the U.K.’s parliamentarian, Baroness Cox. On Boxing Day, 10 Christians were beheaded, and in a separate incident, a bride and her bridal party were also beheaded.
“What is afoot in Nigeria is jihad,” said Save the Persecuted Christians President and CEO Frank Gaffney. “It’s a concerted, systematic, organized and increasingly genocidal effort to remove from Nigeria—and most especially from the areas of Nigeria that are resource-rich—Christians who are by definition under the Sharia supremacist program that drives jihad; they are seen as enemies of Islam and people that can be eliminated or otherwise removed at will. And this creates not just a very strong contradiction to the party line, namely the party that has said the conflict is simply between farmers and herdsmen, but a challenge to be truthful about the reality of the war being waged against Christians in Nigeria. In addition to holding the persecutors accountable, we should also be holding those who enable the persecutors accountable.”
In his article, Lévy describes Christians he met in Nigeria and the mutilations they suffered from attacking Fulani herdsmen. In Kaduna State, he filmed the testimony of a young female evangelist, Jumai Victor, who is missing an arm. The Fulanis came into her town at night on motorcycles, shouting “Allahu akbar!”
Victor’s story also happens to be featured in STPC’s newest traveling exhibit titled “Warfare on Women,” which reveals the specific terror-tactic used to demean and degrade female believers to instill fear into the heart of Christian communities. The banner titled “Butchered” reads: “Captured by Fulani jihadists, Jumai Victor’s three children were laid on the floor and butchered with machetes. Then, the terrorists stretched out her arm and chopped her hand until all that remained was a single exposed bone. They mutilated her face, neck and other hand. The 5-month-old-baby in her womb perished, and she was left for dead. Women tell similar stories in village after village.”
The banner titled “Kidnapped” tells of Leah Sharibu, a courageous Christian Nigerian teen taken captive and held as a “slave for life” by terrorists. “Warfare on Women” highlights multiple stories of Christian women, many from Nigeria, who are harmed by religious violence.
Joining the “Warfare on Women” exhibit is “The People of the Cross,” which features images, facts and quotes about the persecution of Christians in multiple countries, including Nigeria. Additional banners feature countries such as Turkey, North Korea, China and others. A majority of the nations highlighted on the banners are high on Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List, including Nigeria at No. 12. The 2020 World Watch List is expected soon.
Save the Persecuted Christians has a mission to save lives and save souls by disseminating actionable information about the magnitude of the persecution taking place globally and by mobilizing concerned Americans for the purpose of disincentivizing further attacks on those who follow Jesus.
With so much of the world’s Christian population being attacked, imprisoned and/or exiled for their beliefs, such as Christians in Nigeria, the need has never been greater for the sort of grassroots campaign STPC’s SaveUs Movement is working to foster. Its efforts are modeled after a miraculously successful one that helped free another population suffering from heavy persecution—Soviet Jews—by penalizing those in the Kremlin responsible for such repression. Through this movement, Save the Persecuted Christians endeavors to provide American policymakers with the popular support they need to effect real change worldwide and alleviate systemically the suffering being experienced by so many of those following Christ.