Washington D.C., 15 December, 2022 / 8:50 pm (ACI Africa).
As President Joe Biden welcomes leaders from over 40 African nations this week, religious freedom advocates are calling for the U.S. government to recognize the rising persecution of Christians in Nigeria.
The U.S. Africa Leaders Summit will meet through Thursday, Dec. 15, in the nation’s capital. Among other African leaders, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has been welcomed by Biden despite recent controversy surrounding Nigeria’s handling of religious violence.
Persecution of Christians and other religious minorities, including minority sects within Islam, is on the rise in Nigeria, according to religious and human rights organizations, including Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
Yet, for the second year in a row, the United States Department of State has excluded Nigeria from its religious freedom violations list of “countries of particular concern” (CPC). According to Sean Nelson of ADF, the CPC list is “the most powerful tool the U.S. government has to influence the religious freedom situation in other countries.”
Many, including ADF and the USCIRF, were shocked and outraged by the State Department’s decision to leave Nigeria off the list. “Removing Nigeria from the CPC list has led to the emboldening of Islamic terrorists, radical militants, and other extremists who kill, torture, and abduct Christians, as well as Muslims who reject extremism,” an ADF petition to include Nigeria on the CPC list stated.