On Sunday, December 1, 2019, Islamic terrorists raided a Protestant Christian church in Burkina Faso during the service and massacred 14 worshippers. The pastor and several children were among those killed.
This is but the latest of many lethal attacks on the Christian minority of the small nation located in West Africa, a region better known for the persecution of Christians in Nigeria.
Discussing the situation in Burkina Faso — which is approximately 60% Muslim, 23% Christian, and 17% animist or other — the BBC reported that “Jihadist violence has flared in Burkina Faso since 2016…. Fighters affiliated to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group as well as the local Ansarul Islam [Champions of Islam] have been active in the region.”
Although the mainstream media habitually downplay the religious element whenever Muslims attack Christians — often by referring to it as “sectarian strife” — attacks in Burkina Faso have become so flagrantly based on religion that even the Washington Post published a report on August 21 titled, “Islamist militants are targeting Christians in Burkina Faso”: “A spreading Islamist insurgency has transformed Burkina Faso from a peaceful country known for farming, a celebrated film festival and religious tolerance into a hotbed of extremism.” The report notes that the jihadis have been checking people’s necks for Christian symbols, killing anyone wearing a crucifix or carrying any other Christian image. On other occasions, “the armed terrorists challenged Christians to convert or die.”
Despite such clear indicators of motive, many in the establishment are sticking to the “narrative”: “To my mind,” explained Sten Hagberg, a Swedish professor of anthropology at Uppsala University, the attacks have “much more to do with politics and economics than religion.”
Meanwhile, for those closer to the ground, “Christians … are currently being exterminated or expelled from their villages by Muslim extremists,” to quote from a September 18 report. “If this continues without anyone intervening,” Bishop Laurent, president of the bishops’ conference of Burkina Faso and Niger, adds, “the result will be the elimination of the Christian presence in this area and — perhaps in the future — in the entire country.”
This would appear not to be an exaggeration. Below are some of the more lethal attacks on Christians in 2019 alone:
- June 27: “[U]nidentified armed individuals entered the village of Bani … looking for Christians… [T]he militants told everyone to lie down and proceeded to look for Christians by asking for first names or looking for anyone wearing Christian insignia (like crosses). The deadly search yielded four men…. They were all wearing crosses…. [W]hen they saw crosses, the assailants singled them out. All four were taken aside and executed.” They then moved on to another village, Pougrenoma, where “They also told Christians to convert or risk execution.”
- June 9 and 10: On Sunday, June 9, in the town of Arbinda, Muslims murdered 19 Christians. On the next day, another ten Christians were murdered in a nearby town. An additional eleven thousand Christians were displaced. “There is no Christian anymore in this town [Arbinda],” said a local contact; “It’s proven that they [terrorists] were looking for Christians. Families who hide Christians are [also] killed. Arbinda had now lost in total no less than 100 people within six months.”
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SOURCE: Gatestone Institute, Raymond Ibrahim