As people everywhere celebrate the birth of Jesus with their loved ones, Christians are facing unprecedented persecution in locations across the globe.
Christians are being systematically and brutally murdered by a new Islamist threat in the West African country of Nigeria, according to a graphic account from the Wall Street Journal. Philosopher Bernard Henri Lévy visited Nigeria for the Journal, according to Breitbart, to learn more about extremists who belong to an ethnic minority called the Fulani, whose brutality has received little attention in the international media.
Genocide in Nigeria
Lévy traveled to Nigeria to speak with native Christians about the terror campaign being waged by the ethnic and religious Muslim minority, which hails from the country’s north. Rural shepherds, the Fulani have been displaced by an environmental change to the country’s south, where they have embarked on a merciless campaign of land theft, rape, murder and pillaging targeting Christians.
The author of the piece describes scenes of medieval carnage — destroyed churches, homes, and bridges, blood-soaked fields, rotting crops left unattended. A young mother described the terror of Fulani terrorists showing up to her village this summer on motorcycles shouting “Allahu Akbar” before setting homes ablaze, killing her four children and amputating her left arm with a machete.
“The mutilated cadavers of women. A mute man commanded to deny his faith, then cut up with a machete until he screams. A girl strangled with the chain of her crucifix,” Lévy recounts for the Journal, describing witness accounts of the barbarism.
The pillaging follows a pattern, said Bishop Kwashi, the Anglican Bishop of Jos, who had a near-death encounter with the terrorists: the Fulani extremists come into villages on foot or motorcycles in the middle of the night and massacre the inhabitants. Often, they will stop in the middle to read from the Quran, according to reports, and they always leave survivors behind to bear witness to their brutality.
Another woman miraculously survived being shot, doused in gasoline, and set on fire in a nighttime massacre. Her husband was killed in the same raid, in which she also had three of her fingers chopped off and the nape of her neck sliced with a machete.
Crisis largely ignored
While the Fulani have been seen as an extension of Boko Haram, they are a deadlier group, according to the 2019 Global Terrorism Index, which estimates that Fulani terrorists were behind most of the 2,040 terror killings in 2018. The Fulani operate “across the country” unlike Boko Haram, who are confined to a sliver of land. Lévy warned against the Western liberal temptation to write off their conflict as one merely representative of ethnic tensions.
Indeed, it is a religious war, one in which persecuted Christians have been left to defend themselves with improvised weapons — slings, sticks, bows — and they have found no protection from the government, which they say is complicit in the killing. The army doesn’t respond to their calls for help, and when they do show up — usually after the carnage has occurred — they take the victims’ “illegal” weapons away.
The top brass of the Nigerian army are ethnically Fulani, said Dalyop Salomon Mwantiri, a lawyer who advocates for the victims, and so is the nation’s president. Lévy reported having had some hostile encounters with Fulani extremists, who boasted about their conquest of the land from Christians.
“There are too many Christians in Lagos,” one of the Fulani told Lévy. “The Christians are dogs and children of dogs. You say Christians. To us they are traitors. They adopted the religion of the whites. There is no place here for friends of the whites, who are impure.”
The genocide has received little attention the West, Lévy fretted, and the reasons are probably not so mysterious: in the West, it’s verboten to even speak of Islamic extremism as a real phenomenon, and Christians are imagined to be the “oppressors.” But the reality is that Christians are being persecuted the world over. How much longer will the West ignore their suffering?