Islamic Extremists Attack, Burn Homes of Christian Communities in Northeast Nigeria
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Islamic extremist groups continue to pillage and rampage Christian communities in Nigeria. This time, extremists burned homes and destroyed livestock, just days after terrorists killed a pregnant Christian woman.
Nigeria ranks as the 7th most dangerous place in the world for believers, according to Open Doors USA's 2022 World Watch List, which ranks countries where persecution is most prevalent.
About half the country's population, 98 million people, identify as Christian but see the most brutal attacks from Islamic militants and armed terror groups.
Last year, the country ranked number one on the World Watch List for having the most Christians killed for their faith and the most believers kidnapped. It just trailed China in the number of attacks against churches.
According to Open Doors, Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) want to eliminate the presence of Christianity in Nigeria.
Recently, members of ISWAP burned homes in a predominantly Christian village, nine days after terrorists killed a pregnant Christian woman in the same area, Morning Star News reports.
They burned several houses and destroyed livestock and storehouses of harvested crops, a local resident told the outlet.
"They rode on motorcycles, armed with guns and cluster bombs, which they used in attacking two communities," Shawulu Yohanna said. "The people in the two villages were able to escape the onslaught as no one was killed."
U.S. Removes Nigeria From Watch List
Last year, the United States removed Nigeria from the U.S. State Department's Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) list -- a move that has sparked debate among persecution watchdog groups.
A CPC is defined as a country "engaged in" or tolerating "particularly severe violations of religious freedom."
"Last year, President Biden removed Nigeria from a religious persecution watch list," a petition description reads. "In the same year, Islamic terrorists, militants, and other extremists killed 4,650 Christians in Nigeria! It is not right for America to leave these Christians behind. We must stop the killing."
"We cannot remain silent while our brothers and sisters are being persecuted and martyred for their faith," the petition continued. "The killings must stop. The torture must stop."
As CBN News reported, religious freedom advocates and organizations petitioned U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken this year to again designate Nigeria as a country of particular concern.
But Nigeria was added to the CPC list for the second year in a row.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) called out the State Department for " turning a blind eye" to the atrocities happening in Nigeria.
"There is no justification for the State Department's failure to recognize Nigeria or India as egregious violators of religious freedom, as they each clearly meet the legal standards for designation as CPCs," said USCIRF Chair Nury Turkel.
"USCIRF is tremendously disappointed that the Secretary of State did not implement our recommendations and recognize the severity of the religious freedom violations that both USCIRF and the State Department have documented in those countries," Turkel added.
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