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August 21, 2012 2:52 pm

U.S. Distorts Nigerian Jihad on Christians

avatar by Raymond Ibrahim

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National Christian Center in Nigeria. Photo: wiki commons.

While the Obama administration continues to say that the Islamic group Boko Haram’s jihad against Nigeria’s Christians—which has seen countless churches destroyed, and thousands of Christians killed— has nothing to do with religion, the group once again made clear that it is all about religion. According to a recent report:

In an online video released last week, the militant Muslim group Boko Haram demanded that Nigeria’s Christian president either convert to Islam, or resign. [Boko] Haram head Abubakar Shekau told President Goodluck Jonathan to “repent and forsake Christianity,” otherwise Shekau’s followers would continue their violent campaign…

Indeed, despite the fact that the Obama administration has agreed to spend $600 million in a USAID initiative launched to ascertain the “true causes” behind Boko Haram’s murderous bloodlust, it was clear from the very beginning that the group and other Muslims were enraged that Nigeria was being led by a Christian, President Goodluck Jonathan, even though he won elections “by a landslide.”

Writing back in April 2011, Nigerian analyst Peter Run said:

The current wave of riots was triggered by the Independent National Election Commission’s (INEC) announcement on Monday [April 18, 2011] that the incumbent President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, won in the initial round of ballot counts. That there were riots in the largely Muslim inhabited northern states where the defeat of the Muslim candidate Muhammadu Buhari was [deemed] intolerable was unsurprising…. Now they are angry despite experts and observers concurring that this is the fairest and most independent election in recent Nigerian history.

Once again, then, reality is easily ascertained—at root, Boko Haram’s terror campaign is entirely motivated by religion—even as the Obama administration refuses to designate the group as a terrorist organization, spends millions of U.S. tax dollars on superfluous initiatives (or diversions), and pressures the Nigerian president to make concessions, including building more mosques, the very structures where Muslims are radicalized and recruited to Boko Haram’s jihad.

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

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  • Nathan

    There is a spiritual power that detests Gods church and wants it destroyed. We all know his name. Boko Harem is his military wing. Obama and the left wing are his political wing.

  • Past. Damar

    whoever does not lookat at boko harams as sponsored tools for Islam to islamise Nigeria is suppoting boko haram directly or indirectly. Any leader that folds his arms and watch his defendless followers slaughtered is not only tolarating terrorism but he is also making his nation a hartching ground for terrorism. If boko harams will be chanting ‘allahu akbar’ while mercilessly and joyfully killing Christians and destroying our churches, are these not enough for Obama and Goodluck to see that boko haram is religious? Why are our leaders running away from the truth? What actually is the interest of our leaders in these bloodshed? Our leaders should remenber the reasons that led to France’s revulution.

  • Haruna

    Mr Ibrahim, you may fancy yourself as a pseudo-intellectual on Islam & Jihad, but your analysis of boko haram is widely off the mark.

    Boko haram began as a peaceful movement in 2002/3, advocating correct implimentation of Sharia in the north, as do all islamic groups in Nigeria. This advocacy, therefore, is not a new or wrong thing under Nigerian constitution which guarantees the right to hold & to express opinions. Moreover, the clamour for Sharia has dominated successive constitutional conferences in the development of Nigeria.

    In 2009, a violent confrontation between boko haram & security forces resultef in the extra-judicial murder of the groups leader, Yusuf, & many followers which was what animated the group to armed revolt in protest against the coercive tactics of security forces.

    Of course, the grievances of boko haram later expanded to include widespread strictural violence, endemic poverty and corruption which the group ascribe to wesyern education, influence & culture in Nigeria.

    All the British Governors- General that ruled Nigeria from colonial creation were christians. Nigerias first president, Azikiwe, was christian. The military head of state that replaced him in 1966, Ironsi, was christian. His successor, Gowon, was christian. The first muslim to rule Nigeria for only six months, Murtala, wqs also succeeded by a christian Obasanjo. Shagari, Buhari & Babangida, all muslims, who ruled in that order were succeeded by a christian, Shonekan. Abacha & Abdulsalami who ruled after him were muslims, and Nigeria was ruled again by Obasanjo a christian before another muslim, Yaradua, who died in office & was succeeded by Jonathan a christian.

    The points to note therefore are that boko haram are not the first or only group to advocate Sharia which is permissible. Its only the application of violence in advocating a view that becomes a problem, not the view itself. Secondly Nigeria from colonial days had more christian than muslim rulers, which renders your analysis as false.

  • who lead dose not matter be it a christian or a muslem. what we need is a good leader and not a ruler. we have seen the north rule why not allow Jonathan to rule so we can compare the two.

  • Ibrahim

    This doesn’t really mean that the crisis is because the President is a Christian and Muslims cannot or will not tolerate this. His predecessor Obasanjo is a Christian, even a more committed one than Goodluck, but nobody was out to say Obasanjo should convert to Islam or resign, Obasanjo ruled Nigeria for 8 straight years.

    Theorists always wish to say Muslims fighting Christians or Muslim North vs Christian South, while the reality is far from all these. South West of Nigeria have nothing less than 50% Muslim population, South South also have reasonable number of Muslims, increasing number in the South East can also guarantee the fact that there is nothing such as Muslim North vs Christian South.