The scene is medieval in its horror: a woman stoned, beaten and set on fire by a mob shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’. But this didn’t happen hundreds of years ago: it took place a week ago in Nigeria.
The victim was a Christian student named Deborah Samuel, from Sokoto in the north west of the country. Samuel’s ‘crime’, for which she paid with her life, was to have allegedly posted a ‘blasphemous’ comment on a WhatsApp group against the prophet Mohammed.
Even in a nation riddled by decades of ethnic and religious conflict where thousands of Christians have been killed, the incident has sparked uproar. But this outrage has mostly been confined to Nigeria itself; much of the Western world turns a blind eye to the horrors unfolding in Africa.
In the last year, more Christians have been killed for their faith in Nigeria than anywhere else in the world combined. In 2021, at least 6,000 Christians died for their religion; eight in ten were Nigerians, often at the hands of jihadists.
Like or loathe Donald Trump, under his administration, the United States at least took a keen interest in the plight of Christians in Nigeria. The country, along with China and Iran, was added to the U.S. State Department’s list of ‘countries of particular concern’ regarding religious freedom. This formed a plank of the U.S. government’s aim to tackle religious persecution across the globe. But remarkably, under the watch of Joe Biden, Nigeria has since been taken off the list. Biden is under pressure to reverse this decision due to the surge in anti-Christian violence. But whether he does or not, it’s remarkable how little attention he – and indeed other Western leaders – are giving this issue.
Earlier this month, Isis released a video showing 20 Christians being executed in the north east Borno state. Across