Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
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ICC Note: Noted journalist and human rights advocate Rebecca Tinsley explores the differences in media coverage of the Nairobi mall massacre versus that given to the ongoing persecution of Christians in Sudan and Northern Nigeria. Ms. Tinsley reminds the reader that although the Westgate tragedy was abhorrent, many more Christians are murdered by Islamic fundamentalists on a recurring basis in other parts of Africa. Yet the media remains mostly indifferent. She calls for the United States Government to better use existing forms of leverage to pressure the Nigerian and Sudanese governments to prioritize the protection of Christians subject to persecution. 
9/27/2013 Africa (The Huffington Post) – We should all be outraged by the murder of innocent Saturday shoppers in Nairobi, but far greater numbers of civilians are being killed in the name of fundamentalist Islam in Nigeria and Sudan. Their misery does not rate the same interest because it is happening every day, away from cameras and white journalists. However, the world’s indifference to the suffering of Christians in Nigeria and Sudan is not simply due to our callousness or racism.
In the case of Nigeria, their government is strangely silent about the relentless and murderous campaign of the Boko Haram terrorist group which has been targeting Christians for years. Human Rights Watch estimates 3,600 have died in religious violence since 2009 (1). Nigerian Christians complain their armed forces and the government could do much more to stop the stream of attacks on churches and Christian communities throughout northern and central Nigeria. News reaches beyond the area affected thanks to the dedication of groups such as Christian Solidarity Worldwide and British activist Baroness Caroline Cox.
When the Nigerian leader, Goodluck Jonathan, spoke on the BBC World Service this week, offering his condolences to the victims of the Nairobi mall attacks, a flood of his own citizens tweeted and called the radio station, asking why he wasn’t paying as much attention to Christians being killed by Boko Haram at home in Nigeria.
In the case of Sudan, the government itself is doing the killing. Christians have lived in Sudan since the 5th century, but the avowedly Islamist regime which seized power in 1989 has no place for them, declaring its new constitution to be wholly Islamic and wholly Arab (2). It has been “cleansing” its territory of non-Arabs and non-Muslims for decades. Its aim is to create a “pure” Arab and Muslim nation, an absurd objective, given centuries of intermarriage in Sudan. Nevertheless, it is believed that at least 1.5 million have died as a consequence of its campaign of aerial bombardment and forced starvation (3). So profound was the Khartoum regime’s hatred for its non-Arab population in the southern part of the country that when given a chance, southerners voted by 98 percent to form an independent country in 2011…
So what can we do? The Nigerian economy depends on oil revenues, and the US is its biggest customer. Therefore the U.S. has significant leverage over the Nigerian government. In the case of Sudan, the west must make it clear to the Khartoum regime that sanctions will remain in place and will be tightened, and Sudan’s vast foreign debts will not be forgiven until its leaders guarantee the rights of its ethnic and religious minorities. Moreover, it must abide by its promises to allow international aid agencies immediate access to the starving people of South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.