Vicky Arias, FISM News
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) expressed immense disappointment with the Biden Administration’s decision to omit Nigeria from its annual report on religious freedom violators.
Each year, the federal government releases a list of countries and entities that have violated religious freedoms. These bad actors are subject to penalties, like sanctions, from the United States.
For the first time ever, Nigeria was added to the list under the Trump Administration in 2020, only to be removed by the Biden Administration the following year.
On Friday, the list for 2022 was released, and Nigeria was conspicuously missing.
Open Doors, a non-profit organization that aids persecuted Christians, explained that,
Persecution in Nigeria is, simply put, brutally violent. In much of northern Nigeria, Christians live their lives under the constant threat of attack from Boko Haram, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), Fulani militants and criminals who kidnap and murder with few consequences … Christians are often specifically targeted because of their faith — ISWAP and Boko Haram want to eliminate the Christian presence in Nigeria, and Muslim Fulani militants attack Christian villages specifically.”
The USCIRF released a statement expressing its outrage over the omission.
There is no justification for the State Department’s failure to recognize Nigeria … as [an] egregious [violator] of religious freedom, as … [it] clearly meet[s] the legal standards for designation … USCIRF is tremendously disappointed that the Secretary of State did not implement our recommendations and recognize the severity of the religious freedom violations that both USCIRF and the State Department have documented.
Boko Haram, a religious terrorist organization operating in Nigeria, was, however, included in the list.
According to the Director of National Intelligence, Boko Haram wants to install Islamic law in Nigeria and uses violence as a means of accomplishing its political and religious goals.
Nigeria was referred to as the “world’s scariest place to be a Christian,’ in a report from Persecution.org.
Christian churches are routinely attacked and Christians are often kidnapped or killed. Critics of the Biden Administration’s laxity toward Nigeria say it may even be emboldening violence against Christians.
International Christian Concern President Jeff King spoke about the Nigerian government’s complicity in attacks against Christians.
“Christian communities in the Middle Belt of Nigeria have effectively suffered a twenty-year-long genocide,” King said.
Where is any action? The Nigerian government gives these attacks lip service without any meaningful response. Where is the outcry? Where is effective action? In Nigeria, the military, the police, and the intelligence agencies are all controlled by Muslims. This, coupled with a twenty-year lack of response by these agencies, should naturally lead to deeper questioning by the world community.