How much are you aware of Christians being singled out for murder in Africa? While the world is fixated on jihadist threats in the Middle East, terrorists are also massacring men, women, and children across lands from Nigeria to Kenya. Two advocates for religious freedom and human rights—one Jewish and one Christian—explain what’s happening, why it matters, and what must be done now.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper:The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish human rights NGO, honored Rev. Moore some years ago with our Medal of Valor for his life-saving efforts in help to save endangered Iraqi Christians. He was our youngest honoree ever. We became fast friends and collaborators on multi-faith activities and human rights from Indonesia to Bahrain to Azerbaijan and beyond. It was I who pushed for us to get on the ground in Nigeria, as it was clear the voices of innocent victims weren’t being heard. We were lucky to have gone when we did. A few weeks later the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
How are terrorists exploiting Africa and finding refuge there?
Rabbi Abraham Cooper:It seems that Africa gets scant attention from the world powers unless there are natural resources at stake. For the average American, it’s far removed from our daily reality. That’s a plus for terror groups or other insurgencies to incubate and develop. Endemic poverty and corruption, historic grievances, and the residue of colonialism all add to the potential toxic brew.
Johnnie Moore:Terrorists in Africa have discovered they can target Christians, or others, with impunity. For many believers they’re literally living in what King David called (inPsalm 23) “the valley of the shadow of death,” but these believers certainly “fear no evil.” You won’t believe the power of their testimonies, as we’ve written them inThe Next Jihad. Maybe people ought to begin not with chapter one but with chapter five where we tell the story of the pastor who had to be a hostage negotiator, has had two churches burned down, yet has held on to his faith.
Who are Boko Haram, Islamic State, and Fulani militants you write about and what are their objectives?
Rabbi Abraham Cooper:Fulani violence is often linked to financial and territorial gain; Boko Haram and ISIS are well known and dreaded Islamist terrorist entities. Ultimately they seek control over territory, resources, and people who can further fuel their vision of an Islamicized continent.
Johnnie Moore:They want to eradicate that whole part of Africa of its Christians and brutally murder every single Muslim who stands in their way. We wrote this book in order to make it more difficult for them to accomplish that goal. They will fail. People should read the book and tell the stories to everyone they know.
You quote a Nigerian who says, “There is nothing poverty cannot cause.” Please explain that.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper:If you don’t have food to feed your family and someone offers you money to follow orders, many people will do what they perceive they have to to survive. That, more often than ideology, is what brings recruits to the terrorists.
Johnnie Moore:Terrorists always exploit other vulnerabilities. By addressing poverty, security, and other issues, we make it much more difficult for terrorists to turn sparks of violence and hatred into raging infernos.
What is the status of the Christian church in the African areas you describe in the book?
Johnnie Moore:The African continent may now have the largest, most vibrant Christian community in the world. The epicenter of Christianity has moved from Western Europe and the United States to South America and Africa. The church is enormous, and the persecuted Christian church is unwavering, inspiring in their commitment to their faith.
What do you want readers of this book to do?
Rabbi Abraham Cooper:Wake up! America is a blessed nation and a powerful one. Whatever our religion or political persuasion, we, as Americans, have the tools to do more to help innocents being persecuted and killed primarily because of their faith.
Johnnie Moore:I want every reader to be inspired by the strength of the faith of believers there, and I pray that everyone till take some kind of action to help. We’ve fulfilled the promise we made to victims to tell their stories and to be their voice. I pray their stories will echo through communities of faith and the halls of power so loudly that the world can no long ignore this travesty… before we’re looking at another Rwanda.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Rabbi Abraham Cooper:When people of faith come together to make a difference, God will help.
Johnnie Moore:This is an emergency situation. We must do more, now!
(The Book -The Next Jihadis written by Jonnie Moore and Rabbi Abraham Cooper,)
Posted from: BibleGateway.com