By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent
ABUJA, NIGERIA (Worthy News)– Instead of sectarian strife, Islamic terrorism sanctioned by state-sponsored discrimination against Christians in northern Nigeria has led to outright genocide, the general secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria told Morning Star News.
"There is no war in the North," said Rev. Musa Asake. "What we have is genocide against people of the Christian faith."
Asake said that a climate of indifference has allowed Boko Haram militants and ethnic Fulani herdsmen to attack Nigeria's Christians with impunity.
"There is no prosecution of those who kill and this has encouraged these Boko Haram members to continue to bomb Christian areas while Fulani herdsmen continue to attack and kill Christians in rural areas of northern part of this country with impunity … Christians in the North are under an unprecedented siege by various groups of well-armed, roundly trained and heavily funded Muslim groups bent on expressing their hate against Christians and the Christian faith through mindless, mass murder of men, women and children."
Christian leaders said the majority of Nigeria's Islamic aggression is "spun" by the nation's Islamist media into sectarian violence.
In a recent report titled "Boko Haram’s Religiously Motivated Attacks," the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom stated that the Nigerian government's "toleration of communal, sectarian violence has created a permissive environment conducive to further violence and a culture of impunity."
"Nigeria has the capacity to address communal, sectarian and Boko Haram violence by enforcing the rule of law and making perpetrators accountable through the judicial system … such an approach would help Nigeria realize lasting progress, security, stability, and prosperity as a democracy."
USCIRF has documented 50 assaults on churches by Boko Haram jihadists between January 2012 and July 2013, resulting in 336 deaths. In addition, 31 separate attacks on Christians killed at least 166; 23 attacks that targeted Christian clergy, or Islamic leaders critical of Boko Haram, killed at least 60; and 21 attacks on institutions, or persons engaged in "unIslamic" behavior killed at least 74.
On Jan. 2, 2012, Boko Haram called upon all Christians to leave northern Nigeria within three days, or face death; within one week of the ultimatum, more than 30 Christians who didn't leave were shot to death.
Asake said the oppression of Christians includes blatant discrimination.
"While the preaching by Christians is restricted to church premises in the core northern states, Muslim clerics are free to preach hateful and inciting sermons with no hindrance."
Asake said that Kano, Yobe, Borno, Sokoto, Zamfara, Jigawa and Katsina states have banned the teaching of Christianity in the same high schools that freely teach students about Islam.
"In the past 13 years, some of the governments in these mentioned states have refused to grant new building permits to churches or give approval for the renovation or expansion of churches. Some pastors have been given six months to vacate their church sites."
Asake said that converts from Islam are especially vulnerable.
"Any Muslim that converts to Christianity in these northern Nigerian states is declared an apostate and faces severe persecution in flagrant violation of his free choice of religion. Indigenes of these states who are Christians are treated as inferior and suffer untold injustice, oppression and cannot rise beyond certain levels in the states' public services, no matter how educated they are."