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‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through Nigeria, not a creature was stirring except for the members of the militant Islamic sect Boko Haram, preparing to bomb Christian churches across the country and setting on fire the cars of worshippers inside a church just outside of Damaturu, the capital of Yobe state.
Christmastime in the United States now brings with it a new tradition that is becoming as familiar as eggnog, mistletoe, and the Macy’s Parade: skirmishes in the ongoing cultural war on Christmas. But as the recent attacks in Nigeria prove, in Muslim lands around the world there is also a very real and very violent war on Christmas, or more specifically on Christians themselves minding their own business in peaceful celebration of the birth of Jesus.
In Iraq, for example, all Christian services and masses were scheduled for daylight hours. Why? “Midnight Christmas Mass has been canceled in Baghdad, Mosul and Kirkuk as a consequence of the never-ending assassinations of Christians,” bluntly stated Chaldean Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk in northern Iraq. In Egypt, where we are witnessing the outright, state-assisted genocide of the dwindling Coptic Christian population, churches were also threatened with violence. Christian prisoners in Pakistan, incarcerated for such crimes as blasphemy against Islam, were refused Christmas Day visits from their families.
America itself has not been exempt in the past from Islamic Grinches determined to dampen Christmas spirits. Recall the Christmas Day Underwear Bomber, for example, and the failed Portland bomber who had hoped to slaughter and maim thousands of families gathered to watch the annual lighting of a community Christmas tree. Racist Islamophobes managed to prevent both those men from carrying out their jihadist obligations against Christmas celebrants. (FrontPage contributor Daniel Greenfield catalogues past Islamic Christmas assaults here).
But on this Christmas Day, Nigeria was the scene of the greatest holiday devastation. A series of coordinated bombings perpetrated by Boko Haram, which seeks to impose sharia across the country, struck three churches during services. Conflicting reports of casualties suggest that 40 or more were killed, at least 27 at a single location, and of course dozens more were wounded.
The New York Times reported that rescue workers faced not only a shortage of ambulances for the dozens wounded in the bombings, but also “an enraged crowd that initially blocked them from entering the church until soldiers arrived to restore order.” The Times didn’t specify what kind of enraged crowd would seek to block rescue workers from attempting to assist the suffering and dying Christians.
Setting off deadly holiday fireworks is becoming an annual tradition for Boko Haram, a sort of African Taliban, who carried out another series of lethal Christmas Eve bombings last year. It is often noted that the group’s name translates to “Western education is sacrilege,” but in fact its more official name in Arabic means “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad.” As part of that solemn commitment, Boko Haram has propagated at least 465 killings in Nigeria this year alone while spreading the Religion of Peace. Misunderstanders of Islam, as scholar of Islam Robert Spencer, tongue in cheek, might call them.
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