I need to make a correction for some wrong information that I sent out on Facebook yesterday. I mentioned that 60 Christian students had been killed in Nigeria over the weekend. It seems that the information as originally given was wrong and all 60 students killed were Muslim. The group that attacked the school is called Boko Haram (Western Education is Forbidden), and are a radical Islamic group that believes any education not based upon the Koran is evil and not to be taught. This group has a history of violence, and has attacked schools and killed students in the past. In July they attacked a secondary school in the town of Manudo killing 42 people, of which most were students. One teacher and a number of the students were burned alive in that raid. Boko Haram was also involved in a roadside attack on motorist that left over 140 civilians dead this past month.
A pastor and his son were killed last week by the group in a random attack of terror that have left the Christian community frightened and unsure of the future. The group wishes to revive the Islamic kingdom that ruled the area in Medieval times. Boko Haram and similar groups around the world have an agenda that includes the eradication of Christian influence within their region. They believe that western thought, ideas, concepts and teachings are all evil and must be removed even if it means killing the people who teach and study such ideas.
It might seem more than intolerance from our western perspective, but for them it is part of a Holy War against the west and Christianity. As I said in the last post, this is a war that most Christians don’t understand or seem to want to understand because it does drive us out of our comfort zones. As one reader of the blog noted, “we can turn a blind eye to when violence happens over there, but what happens when it shows up on our doorstep?” Pretending that these acts of murder and hatred don’t happen, doesn’t make them any less real. And because it was Muslim students that died in the attack on the Yobe State College of Agriculture doesn’t make the events any less horrific.
We are living in an increasingly intolerant world where people of different beliefs and opinions are subject to discrimination, violence and death. Much of this violence is directed towards Christian minorities in large parts of the world, but these attacks don’t need to go unnoticeded by the Christian community. We have the power of prayer.
This weekend ask your church family to take time to pray for the persecuted of the world. Ask your friends to pray and encourage your family to have a time of prayer for these hurting brothers and sisters. This is a challenge for the praying Christian Community who put their trust in the grace and power of Jesus Christ. Persecution is nothing new in the Christian world. It has travelled with us since Jesus was hung on the cross. We most certainly cannot become the first generation to be indifferent to it, and stand idly by while the light of the Christian community in parts of the world goes dark.