Since the beginning of the 21st century, the persecution of Christians has taken place in northern Nigeria. In the poverty-stricken nation, tension between Muslims and Christians runs high. The discrimination against Christians in the North along with violent attacks at the hands of the infamous Boko Haram violates several international laws and has led to the interference of the International Criminal Court and United States. Although the violence began in recent years, the conflict has been rising for centuries.
James Verini from National Geographic, reports that Muslim merchants introduced Islam into the city of Kano in the 11th century. The king of Kano adopted Islam as the official religion of the state in 1370. Christianity-along with British colonization and industrialization- arrived in Kano in 1903. “The emir and the British kept out Western education and other advances but allowed in Christians from the south” (Verini 98). With both religions in the same region by the mid-20th century, Muslims represented about half of the population in Nigeria. As a result, northern Nigeria stayed under the rule of Muslim dictators until recent years as claimed by Ann Buwalda and Emmanuel Ogebe from the Morning Star News. In 1999, Nigeria elected their first president, causing twelve northern states to violate the country’s constitution by enforcing their own government based on Islamic law. “This resulted in horrific violence the following year that left thousands dead when Christians protested peacefully” ( Buwalda and Ogebe). The riot in 1999 marked the beginning of the ongoing violence between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria.
Although violent attacks on Christians at the hands of Muslims in Nigeria dates back “over a quarter century” (Buwalda and Ogebe), the Boko Haram-Nigeria’s most prominent terror group- began in the early 2000s. According to James Verini from National Geographic, Mohammed Ali, “a preacher fed up with poverty and disorder” (104), and his followers withdrew from society, began attacks against the authorities, and was soon gained notoriety as the “Nigerian Taliban” (104). After law enforcement killed Ali during one of the group’s strikes, Mohammed Yusuf took over as leader of the organization. After law enforcement also killed Yusuf in 2009, Verini states, the group now known as the Boko Haram committed to avenge their fallen leader.
In the last three years, the Boko Haram killed about 3,000 people across twelve countries as Buwalda and Ogebe claim. The exact numbers of fatalities in Nigeria remain unclear however. While Verini asserts 4,700 deaths have been connected to the terror organization since 2009, and the Morning Star News holds that 900 Christians were killed in 2012 alone, the New York Times states that the Boko Haram has killed just over 900 people since 2009.
Two of the most deadly attacks in Nigeria in recent years resulted in triple-digit casualties as reported by Buwalda and Ogebe. In April...