Nigerian Lutheran bishop wants stronger global Christian voice against Boko Haram
Nigerian Lutheran Archbishop Nemuel A. Babba has urged a "stronger global Christian voice against the Boko Haram violence" in the north of Africa's most populous nation.
"The senseless killings in early January and the razing down of homes, churches, mosques, schools and businesses in the town of Baga in Borno state, showed yet again, the callous nature of Boko Haram and the helpless situation for citizens of Nigeria who cannot defend themselves," said Babba.
He told the Lutheran World Federation there is a need for "solidarity to help restore trust and relationships" between Christians and Muslims in the country.
His appeal came shortly The Washington Times reported January 27 that Muslim persecution of Christians is at a high, and there are grave fears of more sectarian bloodletting in Nigeria, which is half Muslim and half Christian.
Next month voters in Nigeria will vote for leaders in a national poll for the nation of 170 million people.
'NIGERIAN CHRISTIANS ANGRY'
"It needs to be stated that Nigerian Christians are angry, as we are the most affected by the Boko Haram atrocities," said Archbishop Babba.
"We do not hear loudly enough the strong voice of fellow Christians around the world speaking out against this terrorism that is directed at those of us living in the northeast."
The Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria's congregations are located mainly in the north of the country.
Babba said that the Nigerian Lutheran church and other Christian and Muslim communities in the states of Borno, Yobe and here in Adamawa, have suffered huge losses since Boko Haram began its armed attacks in 2009 with the aim of creating an Islamic state in this part of the country.
"Arewa and Shall-Holma dioceses are the most severely affected; the bishops had to move out of the diocesan headquarters two months ago," said the Lutheran archbishop.
"Like thousands of other displaced people, we don't know when they can go back. Many Lutheran churches and institutions including the Gombi and Arewa cathedrals have been burned down or pillaged.
"Around 50,000 of our members in Arewa and Shall-Holma had no organized Lutheran worship for the Christmas and New Year seasons because of the violence."
Muslim atrocities against Christians cry out for media attention and political awareness, said Raymond Ibrahim, author of the monthly report "Muslim Persecution of Christians," The Washington Times reported.
Ibrahim has chronicled attacks on Christians in dozens of countries since July 2011.
Mainstream media rarely cover attacks on Christians, even though they happen "all around the Islamic world," Ibrahim asserted in The Washington Times interview.
Muslim-on-Muslim attacks can get broad attention - such as the April kidnappings of some 230 Nigerian schoolgirls by the terrorist group Boko Haram.
The mass abductions so alarmed the world that first lady Michelle Obama brought attention to the social media campaign #BringBackOurGirls.
But from August to October, Boko Haram and its extremist Islamist allies destroyed nearly 200 Christian churches as they rampaged through towns and villages in northeastern Nigeria, said Ibrahim, a fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
"As Christians we have also made the government aware that we see Christians as being specifically targeted by Boko Haram," Babba told the Lutheran World Information service.
"This is not to deny that Muslims are being attacked and killed, but Christians suffer the highest casualties."