Breakpoint: Genocide in Nigeria


 By John Stonestreet and Glenn Sunshine

What has happened to Nigerian Christians meets the established international standards for genocide.

Back in May, 20 Nigerian Christians were brutally martyred by the Islamic militant group ISIS. In June, 40 more Christians died in Owo, Nigeria, in a terrorist attack against a church. Though it is not clear who is responsible for that attack, what is clear is that Christians continue to be severely persecuted in this West African nation. The persecution, which has been ongoing for years, is part of a long history of conflict with Islam.

In 1953, Christians made up only 21.4% of the population in Nigeria. Today, about half of the country’s population, about 96 million people, are Christians. To put that number in perspective, Germany, the largest country in Europe, has a total population of less than 84 million. Much of the Christian growth in Nigeria has resulted from education efforts by Western missionaries, though the country has long had a Christian presence.

Nigeria’s Christians live primarily in the southern, farming part of the country. They are mostly under attack by Islamists and the Muslim Fulani, who live mostly in the northern herding areas. They also face the threat of Boko Haram, a ruthless Islamist terrorist organization whose name literally means Western learning (boko) is prohibited (haram).

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