Salafi Muslims, who adhere to the radical Saudi Wahhabi doctrine of Islam, are responsible for the majority of attacks targeting Christians in the Islamic world, Nina Shea writes in the National Review Online. But, the Obama administration has outright ignored the “religious implications of these horrific events.”
By Nina Shea
4/12/2012 Washington, DC (National Review Online) – In recent years, we’ve begun to brace ourselves for news of bombings, burnings, and other attacks on churches full of Christian worshipers on religious holy days — for example, in Nigeria, Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Ethiopia. This violence comes out of the growing community of Salafi Muslims, adherents of the radical brand of Islam that is Saudi Arabia’s official doctrine and which Saudi Arabia exports throughout the Sunni world. We’ve also come to expect the willful blindness of the Obama administration about the religious implications of these horrific events. Last weekend’s Easter Sunday was no exception.
On Easter morning, a Protestant church in Kaduna, Nigeria, was targeted by a suicide car bombing that killed 39 and wounded dozens, apparently the handiwork of Boko Haram, the Salafi network whose stated aim is to turn Africa’s largest country into a sharia state. Last Christmas, Boko Haram had bombed St. Theresa’s Catholic Church outside the capital Abuja killing 44 worshipers, as well as attacked various Christian churches in the towns of Jos, Kano, Gadaka, and Damaturu.
Four days have now passed and there has been no official comment from the Obama administration about this most recent monstrous example of anti-Christian persecution. However, on April 8, that is, Easter, Secretary Clinton did manage to issue one press release. It announced that “today we celebrate the history, impact and culture of Romani people” (formerly called “gypsies”), and inveighed against Europe, demanding that it become “more inclusive.” But for the northern Nigerian Christians savagely attacked on one of their most important religious days, there has not been a word of condolence.
Even worse, the day after the Nigeria church bombing, at a forum on U.S. policy toward Nigeria held at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, Clinton’s Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson — overlooking Boko Haram’s self-proclaimed identity, pattern of behavior, statements and very name, which means “Western education is a sin” — publicly denied that Boko Haram has religious motives. He went out of his way to stress: “Religion is not driving extremist violence in . . . northern Nigeria.”
Carson is articulating official U.S. policy. Its theory is that Boko Haram is “exploiting religious differences” to “create chaos” to protest “poor government service delivery,” poverty, and a variety of good-governance concerns. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (on which I served as a commissioner until last month) finds that Boko Haram’s violence is indeed “religiously motivated.” Even Nigeria’s Committee of Imams of the Federal Capital Territory has acknowledged that the church bombings are done in the name of Islam and condemned them as “deviant.”