By Faith J. H. McDonnell
The “Islamist apologist choir” described in Cinnamon Stillwell’s recent story “Profs on Boston Bombing” doesn’t sing solely on behalf of Chechnya and Cambridge. Some of that choir’s most dreadful caterwauling today is in support of Nigeria’s yet-undesignated terrorists, Boko Haram. The choir stalls are located in the U.S. State Department, which not only refuses to designate the jihadists as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), but maligns and defames Boko Haram’s Christian victims, as well.
Boko Haram’s latest attack, killing at least 42, took place on Tuesday, May 7, in the already battle-worn town of Bama, in Nigeria’s northeast Borno State. Borno, one of 12 states under Sharia, has suffered heavy losses under the Islamists. Some believe that Boko Haram has taken over northern Borno State much as Islamists took over northern Mali. At least 277 had been killed by Boko Haram in Borno State in 2013 before this attack. According to an AP story the Tuesday event involved “coordinated attacks by Islamic extremists armed with heavy machine guns” in multiple locations around Bama. The jihadists also raided a federal prison, freeing 105 inmates.
Military spokesman Lt. Colonel Sagir Musa told AP that “some 200 fighters in buses and pickup trucks mounted with machine guns attacked the barracks of the 202 Battalion of Nigeria’s beleaguered army.” Musa, who said two soldiers and 10 insurgents died in the attack, revealed that the attackers “came in army uniform pretending to be soldiers.” The Islamists killed 14 prison guards. They also attacked and razed a police station, a police barracks, a magistrate’s court, and local government offices, according to Lt. Col. Musa. Bama police commander Sagir Abubakar reported that at least 22 police officers, three children and a woman were killed in the attacks.
Boko Haram frequently attacks Nigeria’s police and military forces. In 2012 as documented by the Facts on Nigeria Violence website, there were at least 67 attacks, almost exclusively by Boko Haram, against military barracks, police stations, prisons, and other government facilities, as well as against individual soldiers, policemen, and civil servants. But Boko Haram’s main targets are northern Nigeria’s Christians and churches.
The official name of Boko Haram, Jamā’a Ahl al-sunnah li-da’wa wa al-jihād, can be translated “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad.” Its goal is to establish a pure Islamic state in northern Nigeria, removing the Christian presence – either by conversion, expulsion, or extermination. Boko Haram appears to prefer the third option. According to the World Watch Monitor (WWM) report on global Christian persecution, Nigeria had a higher death toll from anti-Christian persecution and violence than the rest of the world combined. WWM concluded that Nigeria is “the most violent place on earth for Christians.”
In a recent Front Page Magazine article, Daniel Greenfield exposed the unfortunate moral equivalence found in the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s (USCIRF) 2013 report on Nigeria. While much of the report is very good and condemns Boko Haram, impunity, and the forced imposition of Sharia, USCIRF appears to have developed the same pathological impulse that afflicts the rest of the federal government, to never blame Islam. As a result, portions of the report mischaracterize certain acts of violence by both Boko Haram and other Islamists targeting Christians, and criticize northern Nigerian Christian leaders for calling the situation what it is: persecution.
USCIRF’s egregious observations and recommendations are actually State Department policy. For instance, USCIRF parrots former Asst. Sec. of State for Africa, Johnnie Carson, who declared in a congressional hearing, “It is important to note that religion is not the primary driver behind extremist violence in Nigeria” and that “the Nigerian government must effectively engage communities vulnerable to extremist violence by addressing the underlying political and socio-economic problems in the North.” USCIRF reports that “The U.S. government consistently has urged the Nigerian government to expand its strategy against Boko Haram from solely a military solution to addressing problems of economic and political marginalization in the north,” says USCIRF, “arguing that Boko Haram’s motivations are not religious but socio-economic.”….