The war on Christians in Nigeria by the radical Boko Haram Muslim group is so severe, so brutal and so unrelenting that some of the nation’s Muslim scholars and Muslim leaders from Middle Eastern countries are asking the jihadist group to ratchet back the mayhem.
The Barnabas Aid Christian organization says the appeal to end the violence is for humanitarian reasons.
“Islamic scholars and leaders in Nigeria have urged militant group Boko Haram to end its violent campaign against Christians and other targets in the country,” the ministry said in a posting on its website.
The call came at a lecture as part of the National Council of Muslim Youth Organizations’ Ramadan activities.
One of the speakers, Sayid Bagher Seyed Jaradi, the acting cultural consulate of the Iranian Embassy, said a cease-fire was “urgently expected for the sake of humanity, credibility of the Islamic religion and peaceful co-existence among Nigerians.”
The announcement is seen by human rights activists as a positive step, but terrorism analyst Martin Brass, a Ph.D. whose work has appeared on Military.com and other intelligence journals, is doubtful that Boko Haram will heed the call to end its campaign.
“I believe barbaric groups such as Boko Haram have no interest in listening to reason since their jihadist goal is to have an Islamic state,” Brass said.
He said that, as with other terrorist groups, many of the followers are blinded by powerful leaders and have no vision.”
“In addition, they are often illiterate and propagandized, bombarded with examples of invasions and violence by Western leaders that have no regard for collateral damage, including Christians,” Brass said.
Brass added that recent Western actions in the Middle East make it easy for groups like Boko Haram to find new recruits.
“They see that in Western interventions in Egypt, Libya, Syria and Iraq, the radicals and Muslims are gathering steam and that the Western support of the rebels, who are either blatantly radical or radicals in sheep’s clothing, has shown no regard for the Christian minorities who used to thrive in those countries,” Brass said.
American Enterprise Institute Middle East Analyst Michael Rubin says the call to end the violence is a positive step.
“The more Muslim leaders who speak out against the group, the better,” Rubin said.
Brass agrees, saying the announcement is a shift in the right direction.
“I always keep in mind that many non-radical Islamic members are also victims and many of them are opposed to the radical murderous ways. The blanket stereotype of Muslims is extremely dangerous, and those Nigerians that oppose the Boko Haram are voicing what many Muslims believe,” Brass said.
However, Rubin says the good intentions represented by this statement may be easy to manipulate.
“The basic problem, however, is moderates may condemn those with whom they disapprove with words, but extremists like Boko Haram condemn those with whom they [disagree] with knives, guns, and bombs,” Rubin said.
“If you bring rhetoric to a gun fight, you know who will come out on top,” Rubin said.
Brass reflected on the recent wave of persecution in Africa and the Middle East. He says that Nigeria is a microcosm of what is in store for Christians around the world.
“I think we are facing a horrendous persecution of Christians worldwide and that Western interventions have recklessly left behind opportunities for radicals to carry out those atrocities,” Brass said.
Boko Haram has recently committed a wave of atrocities against Christians in Nigeria on which WND has reported.
Among the attacks was the arson that killed 50 members of a northern Nigerian church at the home of their pastor.
The attack by armed gunmen was only the first in a 12-village spree of violence that left more than 100 dead in northern Nigeria’s Plateau State, which hasn’t been in Boko Haram’s operational area.
But the group claimed responsibility for the attacks, demanding that all Christians convert or face more violence.
That report came at about the same time it was learned that Boko Haram intends to recruit 300 suicide bombers to attack Christians.
And Boko Haram also reportedly was attempting to engineer a civil war in Nigeria. Heritage Foundation Africa analyst Morgan Roach said the violence likely is an attempt at a revolution that would turn Nigeria into a Shariah-practicing Muslim nation.
And in the south, according to ICC Africa analyst Jonathan Racho, Boko Haram is using another strategy to kill Christians, poisoning food supplies.
Boko Haram also attacked Nigerian security forces, leaving 100 dead as a result of the gun battles in Kaduna. And a series of bombings killed 19 in Maiduguri and Kano.
Open Doors reported hundreds of Christians were dead in a wide-ranging series of attacks about that time.
WND reported Boko Haram has vowed to “eradicate” Christianity.