Slain Christians Remain “Restrained”
Posted Wed, Mar 10, 2010

Another grisly atrocity struck Nigeria. More than 500 innocent Christian villagers, including toddlers and pregnant women were slaughtered early this week. Accounts from the scene tell the shocking chronicle of barbaric genocide.
The mass massacre occurred Sunday (March 7, 2010) when Muslim groups, described as herdsmen, raided Christian villages in Nigeria’s central Plateau state. The Indigenous Christians and Muslims who immigrated to the area have been clashing over control of the land’s resources. Witnesses said that Hausa-Fulani tribesmen came from surrounding hills, firing guns in the pre-dawn hours of Sunday. When startled villagers emerged from their homes they were either shot or hacked with machetes. Mass graves were dug to bury the victims.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday he was deeply concerned about the recent “appalling” deaths in Nigeria, and urged the country’s political and religious leaders to solve the nation’s crisis. “I am deeply concerned that there has been more inter-religious violence, with appalling loss of life,” Ban said in New York. “I appeal to all concerned to exercise maximum restraint.”
The UN’s human rights chief, Navi Pillay, said she was appalled by the massacre but said the government had to tackle festering poverty. “Better security is clearly vital,” Pillay said, “but it would be a mistake to paint this purely as sectarian or ethnic violence, and to treat it solely as a security issue.
“What is most needed is a concerted effort to tackle the underlying causes of the repeated outbreaks of ethnic and religious violence which Nigeria has witnessed in recent years, namely discrimination, poverty and disputes over land,” she added. Amnesty and Human Rights Watch are still silent.
The main Canadian newspapers made a different choice in covering the massacre on March 9, 2010. The Toronto Star did not see the carnage as an important event as it is understood, by reporting about it on page A16 with only two sentences and a picture. The Globe & Mail told the story in 650 words on page A14 accompanied with a picture of the horrors while explaining that “reprisal killings believed motive for slaughter”. The National Post was the only newspaper to bring the massacre to the front page as the main headline: “Sectarian Slaughter Claims 500 in Nigeria”.

The international and media reaction to the massacre raises questions on the double standards of the UN and human rights organizations. Unsurprisingly, Judge Richard Goldstone was not summoned to investigate the atrocities and the UN Secretary General finds it suitable just to call all sides to exercise “maximum restraint”. No word has been said on the need for an impartial investigation and the accountability of the Nigerian Government that failed to supply protection to its citizens. The slain Christians are definitely at “maximum restraint”.
The recent carnage sheds once again the light on radical Islamists. We may hear spokespersons explain that Islam is a religion of peace and compassion and that such an act contradicts the commands and spirit of Islam. I tend to believe them, but still wonder why so many people worldwide from Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, iran and other countries fail to comprehend the moderate message of Islam and find it a divine source for legitimizing mass killing of infidels “in the path of Allah”. Certainly, something is wrong in the interpretation process of Islam and that should be investigated as it may affect the national security of Canada. The recent government decision which outlawed the Somali Shabab organization for radicalizing the Somali Canadian youth is a reminder in this regard.

Jonathan Dahoh-Halevi
Fellow and senior researcher at the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs , head of research of the Orient Research Group Ltd., investigative journalist and an activist in the Jewish and Israeli communities.

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