By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent
ABUJA, NIGERIA (Worthy News)– Christian groups have petitioned the U.S. government to designate the African Islamist group Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, but that designation is opposed by Nigeria's own government.
The Nigerian ambassador fears that the FTO designation would embolden Boko Haram by increasing its international prestige, thereby attracting the attention of larger Islamist groups that would be willing to support it with arms and jihadist training.
Further, the FTO designation could adversely affect foreign investment in Nigeria, driving away investors who would be reluctant to do business in a nation with both a struggling economy and an internationally recognized terrorist organization.
However, the U.S. chapter of the Christian Association of Nigerians has argued that terrorism is not a major obstacle for investors who will "go for profit wherever they can find it, even if it is in the mouth of a lion."
Instead of empowering Boko Haram, the chapter claims that the FTO designation would hamper Haram's ability to obtain funds outside Nigeria's borders because other Islamist groups might think twice about associating with a Foreign Terrorist Organization. But whether an FTO designation would stop the persecution of Christians in Nigeria is problematic: earlier this month, a U.S. military report has already revealed links between al-Qaeda and Haram, whose members have already killed more than 3,000 Nigerians.
So as the international community continues to argue about how to classify Boko Haram, Christians in Nigeria continue to live in fear from it, whatever it's designation.