The Biden administration is facing pressure from numerous conservative, human rights and religious organizations for failing to designate Nigeria as a Country of Particular Concern ("CPC") for the brutal killing of over 200 Christians during Christmas season massacres
perpetrated by Muslims.
On Jan. 4, Blinken announced that he’d designated a series of countries, including Iran and Russia, as a CPC, but Nigeria was notably left off the list.
In a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, two dozen interest groups, led by Advancing American Freedom and including ConservativeHQ.com, Alliance Defending Freedom, the Hudson Institute, former Ambassador Sam Brownback and former defense and national security officials, excoriated the State Department for its "refusal" to designate Nigeria as a CPC – calling the lack of action "unconscionable."
The letter notes that the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), a Nigeria-based nonprofit, has found that more than 52,000 Christians have been killed and more than 14 million Christians have been forced to flee Nigeria since 2009.
Over that same period, Intersociety documented that 18,000 churches and 2,200 schools had been attacked.
Text of the letter and list of signers follows:
The Honorable Antony Blinken
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20520
Your refusal to designate Nigeria as a Country of Particular Concern (“CPC”) for severe violations of religious freedom is completely unconscionable.
Less than two weeks ago, almost 200 Nigerian Christians became martyrs while celebrating Christmas. According to one account, these Christians were “killed for sport.”
Just weeks earlier, the Christian Association of Nigeria received a letter threatening them against celebrating Christmas.
If this is not religious persecution, then what is?
The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), a Nigeria-based non-profit, has found that more than 52,000 Christians have been killed and more than 14 million Christians have been forced to flee Nigeria since 2009. Over that same period, Intersociety also found that 18,000 churches and 2,200 schools have been attacked.
Again - if this is not religious persecution, then what is?
The international religious freedom community stands outraged at your refusal to hold these acts of evil to account. Within hours of your announcement, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (“USCIRF”) called for a congressional hearing, and international religious freedom advocates publicly criticized your decision.
While the Trump-Pence Administration designated Nigeria as a CPC, your administration has reversed this designation without explanation as to why the slaughter of Nigerian Christians is not “of Particular Concern” to the U.S. Department of State.
The eyes of the world look to the United States as a beacon of hope and freedom. Religious
freedom is grounded in the American founding, enshrined in the Bill of Rights, and quintessential to what it means to be an American. When the United States stands silent as evil runs amok, the
world takes notice.
We request that you immediately reverse course and re-designate Nigeria as a CPC.
Advancing American Freedom
United States Congress
U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
Ambassador Sam Brownback
The Brownback Group
Founder and President
Media Research Center
International Christian Concern
Arielle Del Turco
Director of the Center for Religious Liberty
Family Research Council
Director of Government Affairs
J. Michael Waller
Senior Strategy Analyst
Center for Security Policy
Children First Foundation
Evans Nnamdi Nwankwo
President & CEO
Megen Construction Company
Rev. Dr. Art Lindsley
Vice President of Theological Initiatives
Institute for Faith, Work, & Economics
President and CEO
Alliance Defending Freedom
Center for Religious Freedom
International Catholic Jurists Forum
Former Assistant Secretary
Department of Defense
Kristen A. Ullman
Former Senior Director
National Security Council
Religious Freedom Coalition
The Honorable George K Rasley Jr
Nigeria burned schools and churches
Sister Moniker Chikwe
United States Agency for International Development