To Islamists, all others are infidels. The Christmas Day slaughter of at least 40 Catholic worshipers at three separate churches in Nigeria makes clear that to Islamists, if one isn’t a Muslim one is an infidel and thus an appropriate target for murder, rape, kidnapping and all manner of assault.
The group that has claimed responsibility for the Christmas Day atrocity, Boko Haram, is described by today’s Telegraph, as similar to the Taliban in Afghanistan:
Boko Haram a nickname for a group which is actually called, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad meaning People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad.
In the Hausa language, spoken in northern Nigeria, Boko Haram means “Western education is sacrilege”
Like the Taliban, the group has been attacking police and state officials who do not adhere to their strict interpretation of Islam, as well as Christian churches.
Its followers have begun to pray in separate mosques in cities including Maiduguri, Kano and Sokoto, and wear long beards and red or black headscarves.
The group, which advocates shariah law in order to rid the country of corruption, came to prominence in 2009, when its members rioted and burned police stations near its base of Maiduguri, a northeastern city on the edge of the Sahara Desert, and in nearby Bauchi.
Reuters described the horror:
St Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madala, a satellite town about 40 km (25 miles) from the center of the capital Abuja, was packed when the bomb exploded just outside.
“We were in the church with my family when we heard the explosion. I just ran out,” Timothy Onyekwere told Reuters. “Now I don’t even know where my children or my wife are. I don’t know how many were killed but there were many dead.”
Hours after the first bomb, blasts were reported at the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Church in the central, ethnically and religiously mixed town of Jos, and at a church in northern Yobe state at the town of Gadaka. Residents said many were wounded in Gadaka, but there were no immediate further details.
A suicide bomber killed four security officials at the State Security Service in one of the other bombs, which struck the northeastern town of Damaturu, police said. Residents heard two loud explosions and gunfire in the town.
A Reuters reporter at the church near Abuja saw the front roof had been destroyed, as had several houses nearby. Five burnt out cars were still smouldering. There were scenes of chaos, as shocked residents stared at the wreckage in disbelief.
“Mass just ended and people were rushing out of the church and suddenly I heard a loud sound: ‘Gbam!’ Cars were in flames and bodies littered everywhere,” Nnana Nwachukwu told Reuters.
Father Christopher Barde, Assistant priest of the church, said: “The officials who counted told me they have picked up 27 bodies so far.”
“I happen to also live close by the church. Help was very slow in coming to the injured,” he said.
To set fire to worshipers during Mass on the most joyous day of the liturgical calendar affronts the conscience of the world and horrifies the minds of people of all faiths, and of none. But the perpetrators of this and other horrors will not stop at this. They will continue until the civilization they seek to destroy — church by church, school by school, pizza parlor by pizza parlor, hospital by hospital, synagogue by synagogue, and “infidel” by “infidel” — resists this onslaught with the necessary determination and force.