Nigeria: Christians celebrate Christmas amid fear of Muslim church bombings

And this Reuters article devotes attention to the “fear for many” of the possibility of retaliation by Christians, as if the real problem in Nigeria is when Christians defend themselves from jihad violence. “Christmas brings fear of church bombs in Nigeria,” by Joe Brock for Reuters, December 24 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):

MADALLA, Nigeria (Reuters) – Kneeling over a dusty grave on the outskirts of Nigeria’s capital, 16-year old Hope Ehiawaguan says a prayer, lays down flowers and tearfully tells her brother she loves him.

He was one of 44 killed on Christmas Day last year when a member of Islamist sect Boko Haram rammed a car packed with explosives into the gates of St Theresa’s Church in Madalla, a satellite town 25 miles from the center of Abuja.

Boko Haram has killed hundreds in its campaign to impose sharia law in northern Nigeria and is the biggest threat to stability in Africa’s top oil exporter.

Two other churches were bombed that day and on Christmas Eve 2010 over 40 people were killed in similar attacks.

This Christmas, the police and military are expecting more trouble in the north. They’ve ordered security to be tightened, people’s movement restricted and churches to be guarded.

But such is the commitment to religion in a country with Africa’s largest Christian population that millions of people will pack out thousands of churches in the coming days. It is impossible to protect everyone, security experts say….

The blast in Madalla killed several people on the street and pulled down the church roof, condemning many of those trapped inside the burning building, including a 7-month old boy.

A plaque listing the names of the members of the church who were killed has been placed above their graves. The twisted metal of the cars destroyed in the blast is still there….

Security experts believe Boko Haram is targeting worshippers to spark a religious conflict in a country of 160 million people split roughly equally between Christians and Muslims.


The sect has also targeted Mosques in the past and assassinated Imams who have questioned its insurgency. In the group’s stronghold in the northeast, where most of its attacks occur, Muslims are equally at threat as Christians.

The fear for many is that more Christmas Day attacks could spark the sort of tit-for-tat sectarian violence between the mostly Muslim north and largely Christian south, which has claimed thousands of lives in the past decade.

“We have always insisted that Christians should not retaliate,” said Sam Kraakevik Kujiyat, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Kaduna State, one of the areas worst hit by inter-religious violence in recent years.

“But there is fear … we know not everyone who says he is a Christian acts like one.”

Churches were emptier than usual on Sunday in northern cities of Kano and Kaduna, local residents said.

Despite bolstered security in cities across the north, dual suicide bombers attacked the offices of mobile phone operators India’s Airtel and South Africa’s MTN in Nigeria’s second-largest city Kano on Saturday.

The bombers died but no civilians were killed.

No one took responsibility for the attacks but Boko Haram has targeted phone firms before because they say the companies help the security forces catch their members.

At least 2,800 people have died in fighting in the largely Muslim north since Boko Haram launched an uprising against the government in 2009, watchdog Human Rights Watch says….

“One faction of Boko Haram has made several attempts to provoke violence between Christians and Muslims,” said Peter Sharwood Smith, Nigeria head of security firm Drum Cussac.

“Unfortunately, I think it is very possible we may see attacks of this type (Church bombings) again.”…

No kidding, really?

Christians celebrate Christmas in Pakistan: "We are scared. We are frightened. We cannot sit together, we cannot speak loudly, we cannot celebrate openly. We receive threats."
Pakistan: Christians in al-Qaeda haven celebrate Christmas amid escalating Muslim persecution
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  1. says

    A belated Merry Christmas to you DDA and to you GI. It has been a while since I’ve popped onto this site but it is comforting to see that both of you are still fighting the good fight.

    Best to you both in the holiday season and for the year too come.

    A belated Merry Christmas to you too Robert. Hopefully the coming year brings you nothing but good things.

    As long as I’m at it: Season’s greetings and my best wishes for a happy New Year to Champ, Kepha, Jan, London Jim, Battle of Tours, David, Lemon Lime, Istanbul Chick,Wellington,and a host of others who help to make Jihad Watch one of the best Internet sites on the planet.

    Keep up the good work everyone. Like Robert Spencer, you may not get the credit that is your due but even so, rest assured, for what little it is worth, I value your efforts.

  2. says

    Yes, and when I read these stories about attacks on churches in Nigeria, or in Pakistan, or in Egypt, or Syria, or in the southern Philippines, I have to say that I wonder when – *when*, not ‘if’ – there will be a similar attack upon a church within the ‘western’ world: in the UK, in Denmark or Germany or France or Spain or Italy, in Australia or Canada or the USA or NZ.

    There have been smaller-scale things – young Muslim thugs barging into a church in France and throwing handfuls of stones at the worshippers, Muslims beating up a vicar outside his church in London, Muslim thugs firing rifles at cars parked outside a Lebanese Christian church in Australia, at the time of the so-called ‘Cronulla riots’ (which were basically a Muslim provocation followed by a fairly limited Aussie response which was then used as an excuse for swarms of Muslim thugs to rampage through three suburbs smashing, burning and bashing).

    But I think if we in the West keep on importing Muslims and appeasing them, sooner or later (and probably sooner rather than later) there will be a grenade (or if we’re ‘lucky’, merely a series of molotov cocktails) lobbed into the midst of some peaceful suburban church during the Mass or the prayer meeting, or a truck bomb detonated just outside (or a pre-planted bomb detonated within) or a group of Muslims will rush into a parish church or a cathedral during the service, raking the place with gunfire.

    If I were a parishioner at any church within thirty minutes’ drive of, say, the Lakemba Mosque in Sydney, I would be encouraging the parish council to take these sorts of possibilities into account. Indeed, any church within any suburb or town that has a visible Mohammedan presence should be discussing security measures. How easy would it be for someone to park a car bomb next to the church? Is anybody watching the entrance during the service? How easy would it be for people to take cover and/ or get out, if someone rushed in through a side door, or the back door, firing indiscriminately or lobbing grenades or molotov cocktails?

    (Of course, none of this sort of worrying and planning would be necessary if there were no Muslims in our midst, but realistically, it’s going to take time to persuade our governments to a/ stop importing Muslims and b/ start *deporting* them, so in the meantime, one must think about how one might prevent or respond to a jihad terror raid upon a church, just as one must think about how one might deter, prevent or respond to similar attacks on other venues – pubs, hotels, schools, sports stadiums, shopping centres – and upon public transport).