Thousands of Christians have reportedly been killed in Nigeria this year. Despite this, the Biden administration has kept the African Nation off the religious liberty watchlist for the second year — along with doing nothing to help endangered Christians in the region.
The “Countries of Particular Concern List” from the State Department allows religious organizations to make safe decisions in their outreach. Religious liberty advocates are furious that a country that allowed and endorsed religious violence has been removed from the list.
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) told the Washington Times, “Secretary Blinken’s continued refusal to place Nigeria on the list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC), when the Biden Administration should be confronting President Buhari, is appalling.” The New Jersey leader referenced Anthony Blinken, the Secretary of State, in his comments.
Smith is a ranking member of the Africa subcommittee for the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He added that the new Congress would deal with the oversight in January. He said that leaving the African nation off the list does not protect victims of religious persecution, and management must be pursued.
A spokesperson for the State Department spoke with the Times about Blinken’s decision. The Times reported that Blinken could not determine that the killings of thousands of people met the legal threshold. Further, Blinken said Nigeria is still a concern, but the State Department would have to “press” the country’s government about religious liberty. But Nury Turkel, United States Commissioner on International Religious Freedom Chair, completely disagreed with Blinken, saying that the number of killings and conditions in Nigeria “clearly” met the legal threshold.
— Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) September 5, 2021
Reports of killings and abductions in Nigeria were released before the decision to keep the nation off the list. According to the news, over 4,000 Christians have been killed and 2,000 kidnapped by Islamic jihadists. The International Society for Civil Liberty and Rule of Law accused the Nigerian government of being friendly to terrorist groups. Other activist groups have demanded that the government take more action to prevent Christian persecution.
Before the State Department’s decision, the Alliance Defending Freedom petitioned the Biden Administration to put Nigeria back on the list.