Christian ten times more likely to be killed by extremists, according to shocking research | World | New

And the problem is exacerbated by a reluctance to accept the religious nature of the violence, both in the country itself and in the UK in terms of responding to the worsening situation, experts have warned. The report of the Observatory of Religious Freedom in Africa (ORFA) says the number the Christians killed was 9.6 times higher than the number of Muslims of jihadism-related violence per capita between October 2019 and September 2020. The following year (October 2020 – September 2021), the ratio was 7.8 times.

Additionally, Christians were 59 times more likely to be abducted than Muslims by extremists, including those from the terrorist organization Boko Haram, between 2019 and 2020 per capita, with that number rising to 4.1 times more between 2020. and 2021.

The new figures show that deadly attacks are rising sharply for both religious groups, with a 20% increase between the 2020 and 2021 baseline periods.

Dr David Landrum, advocacy director at Open Doors UK and Ireland, told “Christians are disproportionately targeted because they are Christians. The report is further amplified by the fact that, in the northern and central belt where most of the attacks are carried out, Christians are in the minority – with Muslims a significant majority.

“It makes the comparative analysis of fewer attacks on Muslims and others more striking and confirms the religious nature of the violence.”

Christians Nigeria

Christians in Nigeria have been targeted by groups such as Boko Haram (Image: GETTY/ORFA)


Over 300 Nigerian school children were freed last year after being kidnapped by Boko Haram (Image: GETTY)

He added: “In Nigeria, the reluctance to recognize the religious nature of the violence is attributable to the fact that many key figures in Nigeria’s national and federal authorities are Islamists.

In the UK, the official denial of religion as a driver can be attributed to a range of factors, he explained, specifically protecting UK commercial interests (including oil), protecting the interests the United Kingdom’s strategic military, what he called “religious illiteracy among government officials”. , secularism and a “culture of antipathy towards religion” among government officials, and fear of Islamist violence.

As for possible solutions, Dr Landrum said, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. The problem of religiously motivated attacks by Islamist extremists against Christians (and also against moderate Muslims) will continue to grow as a problem unless the religious driver is recognized.

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A burnt crucifix destroyed after an attack by Fulani herders in Nigeria (Image: GETTY)

“The rise in violence proves that the current policy is not only a failure, in denying the religious motivation for the violence, it is also an exacerbating factor.

“Instead of listing the complex range of factors driving violence in Nigeria, the UK Government must accept the overwhelming evidence that religion is the main driver and that Islamist groups are actively involved in the fueling criminal and tribal conflict as part of a broader strategy of ‘Talibanization’ in which chaos and insecurity force Christians out of their land”.

Gideon Para-Mallam, is director of research at the Observatory of Religious Freedoms in Africa (ORFA).

He told “Historically there has been and still is a pattern of systemic persecution against Christians which became structural during the British colonial era through the system of indirect rule they have. introduced.

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Aftermath of the suicide bombing in Kano, Nigeria

Aftermath of the suicide bombing in Kano, Nigeria in December 2021 (Image: ORFA)


Rabi, survivor of the Boko Haram bombing in Gobe State, Nigeria (Image: ORFA)

“It was supported politically after independence – the post-colonial era. Successive military interventions did little to stop this, as Muslims continued to find ways to influence Nigerian military rulers to promote Islamic rule.

He added: “It is necessary to have good planning on the part of the government in the administration of justice, which is essential. Fairness and justice could go a long way in addressing today’s religiously motivated killings. Ending the killings would be a way to stop Nigeria’s gradual descent into anarchy.

“What is happening politically will prove to be a real existential threat to Christians. You don’t have to wait for that to happen to scream. The UK government and Western democracies that believe in participatory democracies and inclusive governance should not sit idle. »

Emphasizing the need to avoid labeling the situation as a conflict between Muslims and Christians, Mr. Para-Mallam said: “Fortunately, I am involved in peacebuilding work, especially in promoting peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria.

Open Doors UK Christian Persecution Map

Open Doors UK Christian Persecution Map (Image: Doors Open UK)

“Most Nigerians: Christians and Muslims prefer to experience peace as they had in the past, but certain government actions in the past and present have created a lot of tension which is getting worse day by day. The Nigerian government must stop fanning the flames or religion and ethnicity.

In a message to the incoming UK Prime Minister – either Foreign Secretary Liz Truss or former Chancellor Rishi Sunak – Mr Para-Mallam said: ‘The UK Government must build on its relationship with Nigeria, which is historic, in getting the Nigerian government to deliver justice for all Nigerians and act frankly to end the violence.

“Britain should respect the wishes of the people above the lies and manipulation of the current government and the next government who seek to maintain the status quo by pursuing corrupt and selfish personal agendas above the common good of the people . The British government frequents corrupt leaders too much, not only in Nigeria but also in Africa. This must stop.

“What Britain would not do to its citizens, it should not encourage the Nigerian government to do to Nigerian citizens. Diplomacy is good but it is toxic if corruption persists and for Britain business is business as usual with Nigeria.

Liz Truss Rishi Sunak

Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak will be the next British Prime Minister (Image: GETTY)

He also stressed that the ongoing violence had implications for Britain if it continued unchecked.

He explained: “The British government must consider its economic interests side by side with the suffering people in Nigeria. Britain should not be selfish.

“In reality, it is in the economic and political interests of the UK government to think futuristically in Nigeria.

“Why am I asking this? If Nigeria collapses today, Britain will be hardest hit by economic refugees. Our colonial history means that the British government will not escape this reality.

Speaking in the Commons on July 19, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Vicky Ford, said: “The government is committed to maintaining a strong partnership with the Nigeria – a partnership that strengthens the bonds between our peoples and delivers on our economic, security and development goals.

“As MPs here in Westminster Hall today have so rightly pointed out, the growing insecurity in Nigeria is a very important concern and the country faces multiple and complex challenges, from terrorism in the northeast to inter-communal conflicts and criminal banditry in the northwest and the middle belt, violence in the southeast and the southwest, as well as serious organized crime.”

A FCDO spokesperson told “We agree that jihadist ideology is a driver of violent extremism in Nigeria, and that Christians and other groups who disagree with their extremist ideologies are victims of this violence. The UK is committed to helping Nigeria deal with this threat.


Attacks on Christians in Nigeria in recent years, according to ORFA:

  • In April 2021, gunmen killed at least 15 people at a college theater used by Christian worshipers in the northern city of Kano
  • On September 11, 2021, the pastor of an evangelical church, Silas Yakubu Ali, 55, was attacked during a visit to Kaduna State. He was ambushed and murdered with a machete. The next day, Fulani extremists attacked a nearby village, killing 11 people, including 10 members of Pastor Ali’s church.
  • On July 31, 2021, hundreds of Fulani extremists attacked villages in Christian-majority Plateau State in the center of the country. They destroyed crops, seized livestock, burned 85 houses and indiscriminately shot villagers. In all, they killed more than a dozen people and terrorized the Christian community.
  • Over the Christmas period in 2020, the Islamic State group executed five Christians who had been abducted on Christmas Eve in Adamawa State. In a previous video, the victims were shown giving their names and proclaiming their faith. Other attacks in Adamawa State left 12 people dead. In Borno State, Boko Haram killed five people and drove many Christians from their homes.
  • As many as 280 people were killed in Christian communities in several attacks that took place from February to mid-March in Nigeria’s Middle Belt. At least 20 people were killed or injured in an ISWAP attack in mid-April. They targeted a market in Iware, Taraba state, because it was a “gathering of infidel Christians”. A week earlier, Fulani militants attacked 10 communities in Plateau state, killing more than 150 people.

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