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***News Release***

Save the Persecuted Christians Coalition Calls for Appointment of a Special Envoy to Nigeria, Where Christians Are Being Murdered for Their Faith

Nigeria Ranks 14th on World Watch List from Open Doors USA for ‘Very High’ Persecution of the Country’s 88 Million Christians

WASHINGTON—The Save the Persecuted Christians (STPC) Coalition is joining other concerned groups to urge the Trump administration to appoint a special envoy to the Nigeria/Lake Chad region of Africa to help protect Christians who are being murdered, kidnapped and attacked in what many are calling “pure genocide.”

According to the American Center for Law and Justice, the death toll for Christians in Nigeria “continues to rise to catastrophic proportions as the nation seems helpless or unwilling to stop bloodthirsty Islamic radicals targeting Christians in the region.” In October, jihadists identified as notorious “Fulani herdsmen” slaughtered 17 innocent victims in one evening, including four young children and a grandmother. All the victims were said to be members of a local Evangelical Christian church.

“We know this administration has a heart for persecuted Christians,” said Dede Laugesen, director of the Save the Persecuted Christians Coalition. “We need citizens and faith leaders to petition our nation’s leadership for a special envoy to better coordinate U.S. Government interagency action to address the violent acts of terrorism now spreading to neighboring areas and threatening the stability of Africa’s most populous nation. We hope that an envoy for Nigeria and the Lake Chad region would be appointed before year’s end.”

The ACLJ had previously shared how the Islamic Fulani militias reportedly marauded through Christian villages wearing camouflage and brandishing AK-47s, burning down as many as 160 homes and leaving a trail of at least 39 murdered Christians in their wake. Nigerian President Muhammed Buhari condemned the attacks, calling them “vile, evil and satanic” and agreed that the massacre seemed “clearly calculated” against Christians.

CBN News reports church leaders in Plateau State say 6,000 Christians have been killed by Fulani herdsmen this year. The BBC reports that since 2009 Boko Haram has killed approximately 20,000 and displaced at least 2 million.

Nigeria, a country of nearly 200 million people, ranks 14th on the World Watch List from Open Doors USA for “very high” persecution of its 88 million Christians.

“Much of the Christian persecution in Nigeria is the result of radical Islamic teaching and activity,” Open Doors reports. “Islam is the dominant religion in the north of the country, while Christianity is dominant in the south. Ongoing rivalries between ethnic groups contribute to the persecution of Christians who are caught in the crossfire. Meanwhile, radical groups, such as Boko Haram and Muslim Fulani herdsmen, heavily persecute believers in the northern and Middle Belt regions. Criminal groups engaged in human and drug trafficking also contribute to the persecution, and corruption at all levels of government only adds to the danger for believers.”

The STPC Coalition works diligently to disseminate actionable information about ways in which Americans can help Christians in Nigeria and elsewhere who are being persecuted for their faith in Christ. Especially in light of immense global oppression, raising awareness about Christian persecution is crucial, as violence toward and imprisonment of Christians occurs so routinely it rarely makes the news.

For example, according to Open Doors, 255 Christians are killed worldwide every month. 104 Christians are abducted. 180 Christian women are raped, sexually assaulted or forced into marriage. 160 Christians are detained or imprisoned without trial. And 66 churches are attacked. Every month.

With such staggering statistics, and the knowledge that most of these crimes are not covered in the media, the STPC Coalition developed a dedicated news aggregator—www.ChristianPersecutionNews.com—to capture current instances of persecution that do make the news and to provide readers an easy way to share these heartbreaking stories with others.

One of the simple and economical ways Americans can render support is by encouraging their pastors and faith leaders to visit www.SaveThePersecutedChristians.org and to order a free banner to display in front of their houses of worship. These simple banners feature a graphic “Save Us” plea with a cross and the coalition’s website where Americans can learn about the global persecution of Christians and find out more about what they can do to help stop it.

With so much of the world’s population attacked, imprisoned or exiled for their beliefs—such as Christians in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region—the need for the sort of movement the STPC Coalition is working to foster has never been greater. Its efforts are modeled after a campaign that helped free another population suffering from heavy persecution, Soviet Jews, by holding its persecutors in the Kremlin accountable and imposing real costs for its repression of people of faith. The Coalition’s movement in our time aims to provide American policymakers with the popular support they need to effect real change worldwide and lastingly alleviate the suffering of those persecuted simply because they follow Jesus Christ.