They Cry in Silence Jan/Feb 2002
Saturday, October 14, was another very bad day for Christians in Nigeria, West Africa. According to a CNN report, Muslim terrorists used the cover of anti-American riots, held in protest of the bombing of Osama bin Laden and the Taliban in Afghanistan, to slaughter hundreds of Christians. In the city of Kano, survivors fled to police stations and army barracks for safety. During their flight, dozens of churches were set on fire. Among those killed were six high school girls on their way to take university entrance exams.
The Muslim rampage followed a pattern that has become all too familiar in Nigeria over the past two years. During these religious clashes, thousands have been killed.
One of the most inflammatory issues in these conflicts taking place in many parts of the Muslim world is the institution of Islamic Sharia law. When Muslim elements controlling a government declare a fundamentalist Islamic state, as was the case in Sudan, Islamic religious law becomes the law of the land. Under radical regimes, this law brings a crushing burden to citizens who are Christian or non-Muslim. For Sudanese and Nigerian Christians, it means a brutal struggle for survival.
Reports of mass murders, burned churches, enslavement, and severe persecution of pastors and church leaders are common. A report from The Voice of Martyrs organization documents the atrocities being committed against Nigerian Christians:
A reverend and principal of Advanced Bible Training School (owned by the Church of Christ in Nigeria) reported, “About 50 houses were burned down in my area, among them was the school itself.” The vice principal of the school was burned in the violence. In Garigari and Jigawa, many houses were torched while residents were on their farms. While some people fled [the area] completely, many have become refugees hanging out in schools and churches.1
It is becoming painfully obvious that the aim of these radical terrorist regimes is to drive Christians from all sectors of the Islamic world. In fact, they frequently say so themselves. The infamous Osama bin Laden, in recruiting a network of terrorist organizations against the United States, Israel, and the Western world, has done so with the specific aim of driving out the infidels. And while African Christians are not Americans, Israelis, or Europeans, they are Christians. Therefore, to the terrorist mind, they qualify for slaughter. The tragedy is that this movement is now gaining followers and momentum in many regions. Thus the immediate future looks even more menacing for believers trapped in these horrible ghettos of suffering and privation.
We may well be witnessing a regression to the ancient days of the conquests, when the sword alone spoke for unregenerate men. In the case of the current radical Islamic warriors, they believe they also have the sanction of their god and their holy book.
What can brothers and sisters in other parts of the world do to help? Obviously, pray. Then lend all of the assistance we can by supplying food, clothing, and financial support to ministries that reach these people. Such support should always be channeled through reputable organizations that know the turf and legitimately direct the resources to those in need. Praise God we have such organizations. And it is our obligation to help them.