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Bridget Johnson

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May 15, 2014 - 11:50 am

A State Department official told a Senate hearing on terrorism in Nigeria this morning that “Boko Haram is trying to portray its philosophy as being a Muslim philosophy, and that’s just not accurate.”

Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs Chairman Chris Coons (D-Del.) referenced a hearing that he held two years ago, in which lawmakers learned that Boko Haram was training with Al-Shabaab and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in an area the size of Texas.

“The hearing that we conducted two years ago could almost literally be repeated today in terms of ongoing structural challenges that have led to this insurgency and have created the conditions and sustained, and in some ways accelerated, the conditions for Boko Haram,” Coons said.

Ambassador Robert Jackson, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs, stood in on the panel of witnesses for Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who was reportedly traveling. Thomas-Greenfield acknowledged to a House panel last November that while Boko Haram has a “religious bent to what they do, they are non-discriminating in their attacks on people.”

“We join the world, the people of Nigeria and the parents of these children in expressing our outrage at Boko Haram’s shocking acts and its perverse ideology,” Jackson said. “This tragic kidnapping calls us to redouble our efforts to defeat a malicious terrorist organization that has troubled Nigeria for more than a decade.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) questioned Jackson about whether the administration is properly characterizing the threat.

“Is the prime motivator here of this instance, in your opinion — is the prime motivator the desire to deny young women access to education and empowerment?” Rubio asked.

“Senator, I actually think the prime motivator is to raise more funds for Boko Haram through ransom,” Jackson replied. “However, the fact that Boko Haram opposes Western education is certainly a reason why these girls were targeted.”

“Can I suggest that I think there’s another motivation that’s not getting nearly enough attention, and that is that this is clearly motivated by an anti-Christian attitude of this group,” Rubio continued, citing “a grotesque statement” from Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau: “It is either you are with jahideen, or you’re with the Christians. We know what is happening in this world. It is a jihad war against Christians and Christianity. It is a war against Western education, democracy and constitution… This is what I know in Quran. This is a war against Christians and democracy and their constitution. Allah says we should finish them when we get them.”

“I don’t think there’s any doubt about what’s motivating them,” Rubio said. “One of their leading motivators here is this is not simply — and there’s no doubt that this is a part of it, but this is not just about girls going to school and it’s not just about raising money. There is a strong anti-Christian element of this organization and of this activity. Am I right in saying that?”

“Senator, there is a strong anti-Christian element, but I would offer that more of the thousands of people who have died as a result of Boko Haram’s activities are Muslim than Christian,” Jackson said.

Rubio stressed “we should not ignore the fact that there is a religious persecution aspect of this that is very significant and deserves attention, especially in light of what we are seeing not just in this part of the world but multiple areas of the world, where we are seeing horrifying instances of religious persecution against Christians, which, in my opinion, has been underreported.”

“Senator, I respectfully suggest while anti-Christian sentiment is a strong motivator, the fact of the matter is that Boko Haram is trying to portray its philosophy as being a Muslim philosophy, and that’s just not accurate,” Jackson said.

“I’m not claiming that this is somehow driven by legitimate teachings of Islam. What I’m arguing is that there is a strong anti-Christian element to this and that it is part of a broader anti-Christian persecution that we are seeing repeatedly throughout the world. Would you disagree with that statement?” the senator asked.

“I do not disagree, but I continue to want to emphasize that Boko Haram terrorizes all people,” the State Department official responded.

Jackson said about 85 percent of the more than 200 teens taken from the Chibok secondary school are Christian. Nigeria’s population includes about about 60 million Protestants and 20 million Catholics, according to Pew.

Rubio stressed that a crime against Muslims “is no less worse or less bad than a crime against Christians.”

“What I’m trying to put aside — what I’m trying to put forward here is that we cannot continue to ignore that persecution of Christians is a leading motivator not just of what’s happening in Boko Haram but in other parts of the world, as well, but in this specific instance, they are clearly motivated by anti-Christian attitudes and anti-Christian beliefs,” he said. “And I don’t think that’s even debatable, given their very own statement.”

Shekau boasted in a recent video that the schoolgirls had been forced to convert to Islam.

“These girls, these girls you occupy yourselves with… we have indeed liberated them. These girls have become Muslims,” the terror leader said.

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
1) Boka Haram is not Muslim, 2) Benghazi was the result of a youtube video, 3) Hillary recovered from her fall within 30 days. Three fictions peddled by our State Department.

They need to hire better liars. This is embarrassing.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is the only thing Americans need to know about the Cult of Islam.

Not all mooslims are terrorists, BUT ALL terrorists are mooslim.

The sooner America learns this, and uses it to guide domestic policy, the better off WE ALL will be.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
So what's next for the loons at Obama's and Kerry's State Department?

'Just Not Accurate’ to Characterize Catholics as Christians?

'Just Not Accurate’ to Characterize the Pope as Catholic?

'Just Not Accurate’ to Characterize Salmon as Fish?

'Just Not Accurate’ to Characterize Water as Wet?

Those in Boko Haram are doing the very things Mohammad, all Muslim's "Perfect Man", did and the very things he commanded his followers to do. They are in fact being very good Muslims. No apostates there.

And Rubio ain't much help.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (49)
All Comments   (49)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Boko Haram, like ISIS, is Islamic to the bone. To say it is not is a lie so big as to make Goebbels blush.
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
Clearly, America has a bunch of idiots leading this country. How in the hell can you split hairs on this issues for the last 6 years and say the complete opposite of what most AMERICANS know and believe that this group is anti-Christian. Really sad that we have stupid running the State Dept.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
We are finding out that the Smartest People in the Room are monons.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
the commie media and the party stooges in the State Dept will never say it, but this organiziation has a different name==
The Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad (Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati Wal-Jihad),[2][3] known by its Hausa name Boko Haram (pronounced [bōːkòː hàrâm]; figuratively meaning "Western education is sin"[4][5]), is a militant organization based in the northeast of Nigeria,[6] north Cameroon and Niger.[7][8][9][10] Founded by Mohammed Yusuf in 2002,[11] the organization seeks to establish a "pure" Islamic state ruled by sharia,[12] putting a stop to what it deems Westernization.[13][14
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is no such thing as "radical" islam. The barbaric side of islam being practiced in muslim majority countries now is exactly the same islam that was practiced and spread by the mentally disturbed 7th century goat herder who invented a religion to suit his and his successors perversions.

Murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping and slavery for the sake of allah is codified in the koran and the hadith for all time and is not "radical" by any means, it's just pure unadulterated islam.

The islam practiced by Al-Qaida, Boko Haram and the multitude of other muslim terrorist/missionary groups plaguing humanity today is the only islam endorsed by the koran, moe "the prophet" and allah.

The only difference is that today’s islamic missionaries have a better selection of weapons to chose from, and Western "leaders" are paralyzed into denying this reality by the suicidal policy of political correctness.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
It seems that for 6 yrs., this entire group of socialist progressives from the WH through the Cabinet to the courts and into Dem reps of Congress, seem to ignore Islamofascist terror as a real threat to America , its allies and Israel. They use terms which cover up evils . But this is not new: Kerry, Hil, Reid, Pelosi, Cummings, Moran, all those flacks seem to use language to fool Americans and hope they can do it domestically as well as internationally. The Left now wants to blame Christian Nigerians as the real villains. The PC baloney the Left spews is killing our American heritage, history and values. No one should vote Dem for it only props up this Anti-American set of screeds and policies.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
“Senator, there is a strong anti-Christian element, but I would offer that more of the thousands of people who have died as a result of Boko Haram’s activities are Muslim than Christian,”

Gee Golly, that's really comforting.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama is toppling secular governments, enabling the Muslim Brotherhood to take over and replacing long-standing constitutions with Sharia Law. Of course Boko Harum are Muslims. Muslims that both he and Hillary Clinton refused for the past 5 years to classify as terrorists. So why now? Because he sees a window to fund the Islamists there to take down the secular (if incompetent) president. Have you ever in your life heard of a country invading another country without the permission of its leaders in order to free a couple of hundred little girls? No. It's an act of war.this Islamic tyrant needs to go to jail.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Reminiscent of that idiot James Clapper proclaiming that the Muslim Brotherhood were not Islamists. Whom are we predisposed to believe, government spokespeople or our lying eyes?
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Our State Department should be renamed "The Department of Propaganda" as nothing but half-truths and lies come from it. And those delivering these lies always seem to have a "Smirk" on their face and a twinkle in their eye!
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
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