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ICC Note: Christians in northern Nigeria where Islamic sharia law governs certain states practice their faith under constant persecution. Nigerian Bishop of Sokoto Matthew Kukah says Christians are targets of extremist Muslims. Believers face continual threats as radical Islamists target their businesses and churches for destruction. Followers of Christ maintain little opportunity for legal recourse because Muslim state governments hammer them with arbitrary and discriminatory bureaucratic delays.

By Adelaide Mena

5/7/16 Sokoto, Nigeria (Catholic News Agency) – For Bishop Matthew Kukah, persecution is not just the history of the Church. It’s a reality that he lives every day.

In the diocese of Sokoto, located in northern Nigeria, ministry includes not only the normal sacramental and pastoral concerns of any other diocese. It also includes regularly responding to violence and attacks against the small Christian minority living in the majority-Muslim area.

Christians living in northern Nigeria today wonder “why have they and their institutions become target practice,” Bishop Kukah told CNA.

Christian churches and businesses – as well as the people who frequent them – suffer both targeted violence at the hands of Islamist extremists and destruction stemming from frustrations with the government, economy and social order, he said. And after the attacks, Christian communities face a wall of bureaucratic challenges and lack of government support as they struggle to rebuild.

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