It was a year ago that Joe Biden’s secretary of state, Antony Blinken, “inexplicably” took Nigeria and its Christian-terrorizing actions off a list designating it a Country of Particular Concern over its homicidal attacks on Christians.
Now, senators are telling him to put it back on the list.
“Religious violence and intolerance directed toward Nigerian Christians has worsened in recent years. One report documented more than 4,650 cases of Nigerian Christians who were killed for their faith in 2021. Accordingly, Nigeria earns the dubious honor – for the second consecutive year – of being the deadliest country on earth for Christians,” wrote Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., in a letter to Blinken.
Sens. Mike Braun, R-Ind., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., joined him.
“Given the abysmal state of religious freedom in Nigeria, it is incumbent upon you to reverse last year’s decision and redesignate the country as a CPC. The moment demands that you do so without delay,” they said.
The letter explained that Christians in Nigeria continue to be targeted by those committing violence.
Recent incidents include the massacre of churchgoers on Pentecost Sunday and the stoning of a Christian college student.
“Sadly, such violence has become all too familiar for Christians in Africa’s most populous country. Last year, however, you inexplicably removed Nigeria’s designation as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) despite no demonstrable improvement in the country’s religious freedom conditions. On the contrary, the situation in Nigeria has grown worse. We previously urged you to immediately reverse your misguided decision, and we write today to renew our call,” the senators said.
The senators pointed out they had warned just last year that “Nigeria failed to take meaningful steps to mitigate such violence, but Nigerian authorities restrict and crack down on religious minorities and detain individuals indefinitely on blasphemy-related charges.”
They said, “We remain concerned that the Nigerian government is failing to protect the religious freedom and basic safety of its Christian citizens. Furthermore, as this year’s annual reports from the bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and from your own Department make clear, Nigerian government authorities directly participate in the persecution of Christians, Muslims, and even non-theists, most notoriously through arrests and convictions under blasphemy laws. Make no mistake: continued enforcement of state-sanctioned blasphemy laws enables the type of deadly violence that killed Deborah Emmanuel Yakubu and so many others.”
They noted that U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom considered last year’s moving to be appalling.
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