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The Islamic slaughter of Africa’s Christians


RECENT headlines have been devoted to that pair of narcissistic grifters, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who grizzle about the ‘racist’ press and ‘unconscious bias’. Those eager for evidence of real racism, xenophobia and persecution need to look no further than the continuing brutal slaughter of Christians in Africa by Islamists. 

Islamism and the persecution of Christians in Africa are intrinsically linked. Weakened governments on the continent are worn down by years of fighting a losing battle against jihadists, and are enfeebled by their own corruption and conspicuous consumption. The unnecessary and destructive global shutdown over Covid-19 has served to weaken them further, and embolden Islamic extremists, who have accelerated their plans to establish a Caliphate.

The Islamic State (IS) in Africa is rapidly expanding. IS West African Province (ISWAP) has stepped up its activities in the Sahel, pledging allegiance to the new IS Caliph, Abu al-Husayn al-Husayni al-Qurashi.   

Nigeria is being ravaged by the three-pronged menace of ISWAP and their rivals, Boko Haram and Fulani militants. ISWAP and Boko Haram especially want to eliminate Christians as part of their jihadist crusade, in an ongoing ethnic cleansing which could soon rival the 1994 Rwandan genocide if left unabated. 

On the Nigerian side of Lake Chad, ISWAP and Boko Haram have been fighting each other for dominance since 2016. The war is displacing millions, spilling over into the rest of the Sahel and killing thousands. Fishermen on Lake Chad pay a ‘levy’ to ISWAP militants, a trophy prize which Boko Haram ruthlessly aim for regardless of how many they murder or maim in this pursuit. Their rivalry is ripping apart the Sahel, and innocents are suffering.

Since Islamists began their terror campaign in Nigeria 14 years ago, over two million people have been displaced and 40,000 killed. Christians there make up half the population of just over 200million. That’s a lot of people being subjected to persecution on a daily basis. 

In August, ISWAP militants murdered 40 Christians including children in south-west Nigeria, and injured dozens. The attack took place during a church service for Pentecost. Assaulting and murdering Christians in their houses of prayer is a favoured tactic by Islamist militants in Africa. Two months later Fulani militants killed more than 70 Christians in central Nigeria.  

Islamists in Nigeria frequently stage jail breaks to free high-profile jihadists, with 4,300 inmates escaping since 2017. Ansaru, a new al-Qaeda affiliate in the Sahel, is responsible for spreading jihadist propaganda and further bloodshed in the country. 

Ansaru also has a presence in Libya, a failed state where Islamist factions compete for dominance, targeting Muslim apostates and enslaving Christian migrants seeking passage to Europe. The latter serves as a fundraising exercise for Muslim extremists such as al-Qaeda, a point that cheerleaders for uncontrolled immigration would do well to remember. 

Another country in the Sahel, Mali, is being ripped apart by IS who target Christian men and boys, murdering them because of their faith. IS has taken advantage of the devastation there caused by the government’s implementation of Covid-19 lockdowns. 

Five million Christians in Burkina Faso are being subjected to growing persecution by Islamist factions, with jihadists emboldened by yet another country devastated by Covid-19 anti-science policies. Since 2015, IS and al-Qaeda have killed around 1.5million people in this small African state. While Westerners cheered lockdown and grew fat on their takeaways and furlough money, the thousands who fled Islamist persecution in Burkina Faso for a precarious existence in refugee camps were impoverished. Ignored by a world obsessed with ‘safety’, jihadists accelerated their attacks on churchgoers.

Outside the Sahel, Islamists have been encouraged by the disastrous US withdrawal from Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda instructed its branch in Somalia, al-Shabaab, to dedicate itself to overthrowing the Somalian government and the expulsion of foreign forces. Car bombs and suicide bombings are their weapons of choice, innocent civilians are their targeted collateral damage. Al-Shabaab’s status in al-Qaeda is rising; its tentacles are spreading to Kenya and Ethiopia too. 

In October, dozens were killed or wounded in al-Shabaab’s suicide bombing in Somalia, one of at least 41 such attacks since 2022. Al-Shabaab has killed thousands of civilians, including children, and Britons living in Mogadishu. It too marks Christians for persecution and death.

Further south, IS continues to advance. Its activities in South Africa, where they have established training camps and cells, are strengthened by the corruption and inefficiency rife in the country’s security forces. 

ISWAP is also progressing in Mozambique, seeking to establish an Islamic Caliphate by ethnically cleansing 18million Christians living there. Their favoured tactics are burning churches and religious schools, beheading innocents and kidnapping girls. While Westerners spent much of 2022 hiding from a flu virus, jihadists went on a killing spree of Christians in Mozambique, attacking more than 100 churches, murdering 300 innocents and displacing 80,000 people. 

Islamist jihadism and Christians are intrinsically linked, the latter the most persecuted people in the world. While the West eats itself over Covid-19, ‘racism’ and ‘climate change’, it ignores what is effectively the violent establishment of a Caliphate in whole swathes of Africa. Real racism is occurring there, with this oppression of non-white Christians in danger of turning into a genocide. If Westerners could protest against this instead of focusing on self-indulgent navel gazing, Christians in Africa might stand a chance of survival against the Islamist onslaught.

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Karen Harradine
Karen Harradine
Karen is an anthropologist and freelance journalist. She writes on anti-Semitism, Israel and spirituality. She is @KarenH777on Twitter.

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