Last year, bombings in the Nigerian city of Jos killed dozens of people and wounded nearly a hundred more; this year the attacks by the Muslim group Boko Haram killed approximately 40 people. Bombs were detonated in the cities of Madalla, near the capital city of Abuja, Jos in central Nigeria, and in Damaturu and Gadaka in northern Yobe state, where fighting between the government and Boko Haram has been particularly fierce.
The name of the terrorist organization at the heart of the recent violence — Boko Haram — describes the character of its agenda: Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden.” Of course, Christianity is far from being a religion exclusively identified with the West; a faith that spread in its earliest days from Jerusalem throughout the Middle East and northern Africa, even as it began to make inroads European territories of the Roman Empire is hardly “Western.” But the Christmas bombings have been an annual element of the campaign of terror that members of Boko Haram have waged against Nigeria’s Christians.
However, for the Obama administration, the systematic campaign of anti-Christian terror in Nigeria is simply “senseless.” According to an article (“US condemns ‘senseless’ Nigeria bombings”) from the AFP, the White House spokesman seemed hesitant to even label the bombings an act of terrorism:
The White House on Sunday condemned the deadly Christmas Day bombings in Nigeria as "senseless violence" and offered condolences over the attacks blamed on an Islamist sect.
"We have been in contact with Nigerian officials about what initially appear to be terrorist acts and pledge to assist them in bringing those responsible to justice," the White House said in a statement.
The statement was issued as President Barack Obama vacationed in his native Hawaii, where he was getting regular daily briefings by his national security staff.
"We condemn this senseless violence and tragic loss of life on Christmas Day," the statement issued by White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
Far from “senseless,” the terror campaign that is being conducted by Boko Haram is evil, but logically consistent with the goals of the organization. The response of U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague was more proportionate to the enormity of the crime committed by the Islamic terrorist group: "These are cowardly attacks on families gathered in peace and prayer to celebrate a day which symbolises harmony and goodwill towards others. I offer my condolences to the bereaved and injured." The contrast between the terrorists and their victims could not be clearer.
Boko Haram’s campaign of terror is an expression of the Islamic effort to impose the tenets of their religion — including sharia law — on the whole of the Nigerian population. At present, the number of Moslems and Christians in Nigeria are nearly equal; a 2009 Pew Forum report (“Mapping the Global Muslim Population”) determined that 50.4 percent of the population of that country is Muslim; 48.2 percent of Nigerians are Christians. Nigeria is thus home to the sixth largest Muslim population in the world; with over 78 million Muslims, only Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Egypt have more adherents of Islam among their citizens. With the Muslim and Christian religions making up nearly equal proportions of the Nigerian population, the Islamic campaign against the Christian minority is likely to become more brutal in the years to come.
Nigeria is, from the standpoint of Islam, a crucial battleground for the future is Islam, and the terrorists of Boko Haram desire to play a part in determining the war for the “hearts and minds” of Nigeria; with at least 495 victims this past year throughout Nigeria, Boko Haram’s “war against the West” is most certainly a war against their fellow Nigerians. And far from “senseless,” the brutal attack on Christians during the celebration of one of the holiest days of the Christian calendar is emblematic of the agenda of the entire organization.
Photo: AP Images