Jihadis murdered over 7,000 civilians in Nigeria last year. They continue the killing spree. It goes unnoticed by western mass media. It gets a little bit of coverage by Christian niche media.
I saw a headline at the Google News aggregator site, in the sidebar for “fact check.” It was clickbait just like all the other “fact check” headlines.
“Did ‘Muslim Militants’ Kill 120 Christians in Nigeria in February/March 2019?”
I knew what to expect. Sure enough, Snopes rated that statement as a half-truth. Of course, they confirmed that Muslim Fulani tribesmen attacked Christian churches and murdered 120 civilians. The part they said was untrue was the description of the murderers as “Muslim Militants.” They said that the violence is just normal clashes between herders and farmers. They took the occasion to state that the Christian Post and Breitbart are whipping up false outrage.
But the article at the Christian Post calls them “militant Fulani” and “Fulani militants.” The words “Muslim” and “Islam” do not appear in the cited article. Snopes is attacking a straw man, in order to advance a Leftist narrative. Their problem is that the Christian Post correctly identified the victims as Christians, and made several references to “persecution” of Christians.
The Left does not want you to know the full extent of worldwide persecution of Christians. Journalists have been working hard to strangle the news about the bloody violence that rages around the world.
So, Snopes dutifully brushes off the Muslim attacks against Christian villages as just normal herders versus farmers clashes. Nothing to see here, don’t cha know.
So allow me to provide some context for this violence.
Approximately 8,000 civilians were murdered in this violence in 2018. Over 6,000 of the victims were Christians. Approximately two thirds of the remaining victims were adherents of tribal Pagan religions (either animism, spiritism, or ancestor worship, or a mix, depending on the village). Several dozen Muslims were killed by Christian mobs in reprisal attacks.
That breakdown has held up for the past fifteen years. The numbers clearly depict a pattern of repeated Muslim attacks against Christians, with occasional reprisals from Christians. This plays out against a backdrop that includes infrequent government interventions that generally scare Boko Haram militants into hiding for a while but have not changed the situation on the ground.
Ancient Land Dispute
For many centuries the Sahara Desert has been growing. The desert has inexorably gained territory since long before the beginning of human history. In historic times, one of the primary reasons for the growth of the desert is overgrazing by the herders. The herders keep pressing out into settled farming territory, and conflicts arise. This has played out over and over again over many centuries.
For the past 800 years, the herders have been increasingly Muslim, while the farmers increasingly converted to Christianity. The herders’ imams have been able to enforce Muslim hegemony among the Fulani. Among the farmers, the majority is Christian, but there is still a vibrant Pagan minority.
What happened to change things in this current century is the rise of Islamicism. Al Qaeda’s fabulously successful attacks on 9-11-2001 sent a lightning bolt of excitement through the Muslim world. While many Muslims were dismayed at the news, there was rejoicing in the streets in many parts of the Islamic world.
One thing that happened was a surge of fresh money into the coffers of the Wahhabi Imams who had been the spiritual mentors of the guys that led al-Qaeda. They used some of the money to reward firebrand professors at western-style universities. They used some of the money to provide scholarships to bright young men who wanted to study in Wahhabi madrassas. They used some of the money to start new madrassas in places where they could teach Wahhabi theology unmolested by government authorities who generally view Wahhabi madrassas as subversive.
For nearly 1400 years Islam has been at war with the rest of the world. Wahhabi theology is a theology of violent jihad, exhorting Muslims everywhere to take up arms against non-Muslims. There are conflicts whereever there is a large number of Muslims living near groups of non-Muslims. With fresh funds, the Wahhabis went to work to exploit old tensions and conflicts all over the world.
The southern fringe of the Sahara Desert was ripe for Wahhabi activism. Starting back in the 1990s they sent some freshly-minted young firebrand preachers, to preach jihad to Muslims who already had grievances with their neighbors. Those young imams identified bright young men from among the Muslim tribes, and gave them scholarships to go attend madrassas in Sudan and Somalia. A new generation of homegrown Wahhabi firebrand imams was produced and sent into a world of conflict.
Then, in this century, the surge of Wahhabi money was used to buy black market guns and give them to the Muslim herders. Herders who could not begin to afford such weapons were steadily acquiring an arsenal.
These facts were easily available to anyone with an internet connection and some curiosity. But they did not ring alarm bells in places where they should have.
As clashes between Fulani Muslim herders with non-Muslim farmers increased in the level of violence, the corrupt Nigerian government reacted slowly, incompetently, and, typical for corruption, were sometimes bought off by the Fulani. Then about ten years ago when the violence escalated, the Nigerian military was embarrassed in a couple of incidents that went badly and left a lot of dead civilians.
It was about that time that a missionary couple came to visit my congregation. They had been at work for many years as Lutheran Bible Translators. They were stationed in the jungles of southeast Nigeria. I asked them about the budding religious war in northern Nigeria. They assured me that it was just an ancient land dispute between herders and farmers, and nothing to get distressed over. That was the party line and they were sticking to it.
In 2014, the Nigerian military were embarrassed again over the kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls. The result was that, though Muslims are a minority of Nigerians, and though Boko Haram was famously killing and rampaging across the north of Nigeria, Nigerians elected a Muslim president in 2015. Muhammadu Buhari ran a successful campaign against government corruption.
I do not know if President Buhari has had any success in dealing with government corruption in Nigeria. The increasing violence shows that he has made no headway against Boko Haram.
Since I am a conspiracy theorist, I think I see some opportunism in this post at Snopes. The article appears at a very convenient time. See, the largest reprisal attack occurred not long ago. A Christian mob is alleged to have killed 130 Muslims (the true number is at least over 60, may be over a hundred, and it is really hard to get good information). So the Snopes article points out that recent attack, portraying the 120 Christians killed in February as balanced out, indicating a tit-for-tat situation, and then they throw up some more dust about “ ongoing herder-farmer conflict.”
I smell a Leftist rat. I searched Google News for “Nigeria.” Sure enough, the top hit was a post blaming “right-wing media platforms” for fearmongering about Muslim violence against Christians. Quartz has a post up that blames the Christchurch shooter on this. Here is their headline:
“Nigerian Christians are pawns in US right-wing media’s response to the New Zealand attack”
They are pushing the “ancient land dispute” narrative. They cite the Christian Post and Breitbart. This is business as usual for the Left.
And I see that Snopes’s “fact check” is something they waited to run for an opportunity immediately after a Christian reprisal attack, which has been relatively rare, considering the many years of violence. They are anti-Christian opportunists. Google highlighted their clickbait trash. Shame on all of them.
I am continually disappointed in the disinterest in the global persecution of Christians by conservatives in America. I learned that Ratburghers value Asian lives at less than 1/100th of the value of an American life. I suppose that Africans go for an even lower value.