News / Africa

Nigeria Group Warns of Boko Haram Christianity Attacks

Nigerians take part in a protest demanding for the release of secondary school girls abducted from the remote village of Chibok, in Asokoro district in Abuja, Nigeria, May 13, 2014.
Nigerians take part in a protest demanding for the release of secondary school girls abducted from the remote village of Chibok, in Asokoro district in Abuja, Nigeria, May 13, 2014.
Peter Clottey
The national president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), says the alleged conversion of the abducted school girls into Islam by the militant group, Boko Haram, is a direct assault on Christianity aimed at transforming the country into an Islamic state.

CAN is the umbrella body for all Christians in Nigeria with over 80 million membership, according to Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, president of the group.

The abduction of the school girls last month by the violent Islamic extremists attracted global condemnation, and several countries, including the United States and France, volunteered assistance to the Nigerian government to search and free the schools girls.

Oritsejafor says the mere condemnation of the abduction of the school girls doesn’t go far enough to stem the tidal wave of violence perpetrated by the militants. He called on influential Muslim officials to persuade the extremists to stop their violence.

“The situation has gone beyond condemnation. There has to be action backing condemnation,” said Oritsejafor. “A lot of these clerics must find ways to engage these people to sit with them to look for the clerics they believe in so that they can start talking to them and by superior argument begin to find ways to change their mind from this kind of belief.”           

CAN officials contend that the aim of the abduction is to forcefully convert the abducted girls – a majority of whom are Christians – into the Islamic religion.

“How can you forcefully tell the world that these girls have been converted into Islam? It is totally unacceptable,” said Oritsejafor. “It is obvious that there is a strong persecution against Christians in Nigeria, and we will never accept it. In fact, one day when these girls have been released they would go through a cleansing, to cleanse them from whatever they said they put on them. They are not Muslims, they are Christians.”

Oritsejafor says it is unlikely the violent activities of the militants will lead to converting the entire country into Islam.

He says that there is a need for the alleged financiers of the militants to be investigated, arrested and prosecuted for their role in the violent crimes perpetrated against civilians.

“[Muslim leaders] must help us find those that are financing these people. They must begin to expose those that are behind them, [and] those that are working in collaboration with them. This thing has to come to an end,” said Oritsejafor.

He also called on influential Nigerian Muslims to unite and come up with ways to resolve the Boko Haram insurgency.

But some Nigerians say the violence carried out by the extremists affects both Christians and Muslims. They contend that it’s wrong for the Christian community to say it is solely their members being persecuted by the Boko Haram militants.

Oritsejafor disagreed, saying over 1000 churches were blown up, but only three Mosques were destroyed by Boko Haram in 2013.

“When Boko Haram started up to about a year ago, the people that they primarily targeted and are still targeting are Christians. It is churches that they were bombing [and] it is Christian businesses they were destroying. It is just in the last one year that they started going after Muslims, and it is not all Muslims,” said Oritsejafor.

“They go after two sets of Muslims. One: those who do not agree with their doctrine, because they see them as infidels like they see Christians as infidels. Two: they go after some Muslims that they believe are betraying in the sense of giving information to security agents. They also go after these Muslims,” said Oritsejafor.

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Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: Richard from: Capetown
May 21, 2014 5:00 AM
Our lord Jesus is a great and powerful God.if boko haram,thinks can harm christians he is out of his mind as watever he can do must know there's God..l declare heavenly power to set the girls free out of boko harams ministries in the name of our Lord Jesus!!

by: brooke
May 17, 2014 11:29 AM
Their koran and the example as set forth by the Prophet of Islam is one of a similar lifestyle. How many wives of the prophet were taken by force after a village raid and their husbands murdered? There was at least Safiya, and Juwairiyah, and Zeynab. The high up clerics know this, hence the lack of outrage.

by: Nabuquduriuzhur from: Oregon
May 15, 2014 2:09 PM
I'm very glad that someone in the major media finally noticed that something was going on in Africa. Since the 1990s, Saharan Africa has had an explosion of Muslim on Christian violence from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, the worst being the genocide by Arabs in northern Sudan. For years the slaughter of Christians was ignored by most NGOs, including human rights organizations. The final death toll was more than 2.5 million.

Feminists didn't even complain about the estimated 50,000+ women who were kidnapped and sold as sexual slaves in the north as toys for the Arabs. At least one Christian organization in this country has been buying them out of slavery, but otherwise it's been ignored. The media loves it's Lady Gaga and its Bieber and so many other unimportant things. People are dying out there for causes unspeakable and it's ignored.

by: ola from: Nigeria
May 15, 2014 9:05 AM
Oritsejafor thechristian president sh'ld not cry more than the bereaved.He's political pastor.This kidnapping doesn't only involved xtians but also Muslims.Every one knew that Nigeria govt are battling lunatics known as book haram.They action is not Islamic,morally wrong,humanly unproductive and legally punishable in court of law.Pastor oritse sh'ld stop insightful comments as indirectly not to help boko haram in their agender of causing tribal-religious unrest.Boko haram re not Muslims bcos they re against Islam despite claiming to be one
In Response

by: Allen from: Africa
May 15, 2014 10:28 AM
@Ola, I wonder when some people will come out and say something bitter to the world... My question goes to Christian Prez! Who is Boko Haram? I'll be happy if he can stand out and answer this Q! I keep my word we're muslim we're not terrorist.

by: Allen from: Africa
May 15, 2014 8:56 AM
We are Muslim,...Please we are not terrorist. Allah Is The Greatest

by: ali baba from: new york
May 15, 2014 4:50 AM
We are facing an international Islamic terrorism. Ten years ago . They started in Afghisstan, , then spreading to Pakistan. Then Libya ,Syria, Mali, Somalia, and Nigeria .the question who is supporting them? . who give them ideology? Who give them the idea to use woman as a goal for their deadly activities. they rape woman in Syria and they get money from Saudi Arabia. they kidnapping girls in Egypt. now in Nigeria., they kidnapped 300 girls. ?
In Response

by: Truesage Idowu from: Lagos Nigeria
May 15, 2014 9:12 AM
The United States of America, United Kingdom, France, Israel, Germany and other friendly allies should help enforce the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and light weapons in Africa. These weapons are being sold by proxy by Sudan who get ammunition from the Arab world, China and Russia. Also the fall out of the Libya war has flooded Africa with enough ammunition to cause Africa harm for a very long time. A clean up of Libya ammunition i.e. both light weapons and weapons of mass destruction is key and the containment of Sudan so that peace can reign in Somalia, Darfur, South Sudan, CAR, DRC, Nigeria and Mali.

by: Sanjay from: India
May 15, 2014 3:39 AM
America is pressurized to send troops to Nigeria not to secure school girls or humanitarian concerns, but to prevent conversion of Christians to Islam by Boko Haram.

by: Dr. Hayem from: UK
May 14, 2014 10:18 PM
The CIA funds Boko Haram, ALL ON RECORD, FACT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

by: Matan Safana from: abuja nigeria
May 14, 2014 7:58 PM
Despite all their false claims its clear, for those who wish to see, that the Bokos do not represent Islam because they are clearly acting against it!
Oritsejafor you and CAN are the main sponsors of Boko haram,each and every person ever caught has been a christian,fear God and preach peace!

by: eddypat from: ohio
May 14, 2014 7:22 PM
Lets just join hands and pray that the prince of peace should have mercy nd bring peace to nija
Comments page of 2

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