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Spiritual Leaders, Activists, and Concerned Citizens Lay 276 Flowers, Pray with Family Members of Girls Abducted by Boko Haram

05/14/2014 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Faith leaders and human rights organizations held a prayer vigil and public witness at the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, D.C. Wednesday, May 14, at 9:30am, as part the #BringBackOurGirls Campaign.

Key organizers of the vigil and public witness include World Horizons USA, the event’s official sponsor, and the Christian Defense Coalition.

According Rev. Patrick Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, the event’s agenda included “leaving 276 flowers in front of the Embassy, prayers for all the girls, speeches and praying with mothers and family members [of those kidnapped] ‘live’ from Nigeria…”

In a statement released to ICC, Rev. Mahoney stated “We cannot be silent or indifferent when hundreds of young girls are kidnapped in full view of the world and are threatened with being sold into slavery and trafficking. We must stand in the public square and shout with a loud prophetic voice, ‘Bring back our girls.’ These are not just the daughters of Nigeria but they are our daughters.”

Executive Director of World Horizons USA and Director of Hillside Missions Organization, Kristopher Keating, who, at the time of this release, was in Abuja, Nigeria, coordinated a live internet broadcast facilitating attendees’ prayer with mothers and family members of the more than 270 girls abducted from Chibok and Warabe villages by Boko Haram militants.

In speaking with Mr. Keating regarding the #BringBackOurGirls Campaign, he said “I want to see social media be what we’re using, as a vehicle, opening a window for the rest of the world to see what it is that we’re doing so that Nigeria might be reformed. But,” he warned, “social media alone isn’t going to do the job.”

The purpose of the vigil, according to Rev. Mahoney, was to, “…call upon the Nigerian government, the government of the United States and the entire global community to use every resource possible and leave no stone unturned in ensuring these precious ones are restored to the loving arms of their families.”

Brandi Swindell, Founder and CEO of Stanton Healthcare in Boise, Idaho, and event attendee said “This attack on the women and these young girls of Nigeria is an attack on all women throughout the world. As I gather in front of the Nigerian Embassy in prayer and public witness, I stand in solidarity with my sisters across the globe calling upon God for mercy and calling upon the nations of the world to treat all women with equality, human rights and justice….Our message today is clear and simple: bring back our girls!”

Boko Haram, a radical Islamic insurgency designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the United States’ Department of State in November 2013, abducted what has been estimated as upwards of 300 girls from a secondary school in Chibok, Nigeria. Boko Haram subsequently abducted eight additional girls from Warabe, Nigeria in a raid conducted on the evening of May 5. A video released Monday featured Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram’s militant leader and spokesman, who was filmed saying “…and now they’ve been converted,” referring to images displaying roughly 50 of the abducted girls from Chibok dressed in Islamic hijabs and citing Quran’ic passages.

ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Cameron Thomas, said, “We are glad to see human rights and faith-based organizations teaming up in support of those abducted by Boko Haram. Every effort to respectfully put pressure on the governments of Nigeria and the U.S., and upon members of the international community, is welcome. We fully support every effort to locate and release what could be more than 300 innocent, mostly Christian girls facing lifetimes of sexual and domestic servitude and, as witness by Boko Haram’s latest video, forced conversion. This is a Christian persecution issue that should not only shock and outrage the global community, but spur it to action, because this is such an egregious offense against humanity that everyone can and should support its resolution. It’s clear that a coalition of religious and secular, and public, private, and non-profit forces will be necessary to ‘bring back our girls.’”

For interviews, contact Cameron Thomas, Regional Manager for Africa:

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