A new spotlight is shining on the ongoing Islamic persecution and slaughter of Christians in Nigeria. “If we are silent about this, we are in some way complicit,” former NFL Star Ben Watson announced Wednesday, calling attention to the horrific acts against thousands of Christians.
Watson was among other speakers at the International Committee on Nigeria (ICON) news conference bringing attention to the Christian genocide there – primarily at the hands of Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen.
Watson says the US government should lead an international effort to bring an end to seeing children forced into being sex slaves and soldiers.
He says Americans must support ministries and groups who are helping the persecuted and displaced in Nigeria because of the genocide.
Watson says the fight for racial and social justice in America is important but it’s a principle that we must carry around the world, “This shouldn’t be limited to our shores… we must raise a voice against violations around the world.”
US Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) also spoke at the event. She said just days after marking the 19th anniversary of 9-11 terrorist attacks are still happening around the world.
“Too often, these attacks go unnoticed. These attacks are continuing in Nigeria with Boko Haram.” Gabbard said.
She said we must, “raise the voices, our voices, and join our voices against the systematic slaughter of Christians.”
Former U.S. Rep. Frank Wolfe (R-VA), known for his work in Congress for human rights around the world, also spoke.
“What should America do? Appoint a special envoy for Nigeria,” Wolfe said. He thinks Nigeria needs a special envoy that could work in the region with the United Nations and Non-Government Organizations (NGO’s) to bring an end to this decades-long crisis.
Wolfe also said that Boko Haram has killed more Christians in Nigeria than the number who have been killed in places like Syria and other parts of the Middle East. He also told reporters that Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to ISIS and that “ISIS and Al Qaeda are moving in” (to Nigeria).
John Stonestreet with the Colson Center pointed to the website silentslaughternigeria.com that tracks all the deaths and violent acts that have gone on for years. He said it’s nothing new.
“It goes back at least a decade but is as recent as today… Just in the last week 20 Christians were killed at the hands of Islamic militants and 60 abducted,” Stonestreet said.
He went on to say – just carry that out – count it out day-after-day for years to see the devastating realities.
Stonestreet urged Americans, like others at the conference did, to call on the federal government to do something.
He also said Christians can make a difference by raising awareness at their church, on their social media, and in their areas of influence. He also encouraged believers to pray.
“Praying is doing something. Praying aligns our hearts with the heart of God. Make no mistake, the heart of God is aligned with the hearts of our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted.”