Written by Cheryl Weber
My heart has been broken as I've read about the path of terror the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram has spread across Northern Nigeria. As I've mourned the Paris terror attacks with the rest of the world, I've wondered where the outrage is for up to 2,000 people murdered in Northeastern
Nigeria since January 3rd. Women, children and the elderly were the majority of the victims as they could not run quickly enough to get away. It's hard to even know what their crimes might have been. Boko Haram, which means "Western education is forbidden", has targeted Christians, those seen sympathizing with the government or just ordinary civilians who are in their way. Their brutality has captured world headlines at times - especially with the kidnapping of over 200 young girls earlier in 2014. Unfortunately, when results failed to show, the news world moved on.
As people of faith, we cannot move on. Not only is it our brothers and sisters being tortured, raped and murdered, but every single victim of this brutality is precious in God's eyes. Just this last weekend, 23 more people were murdered by 3 women wearing suicide vests - one girl just 10 years old. A little girl as a suicide bomber? Could there be any greater evil than to use children as weapons? What is the outcome of this absolutely senseless violence?
The advance of this violence must stop. I am asking every person reading this to do 3 things. First and always foremost - pray. We often think that our prayers are not that important but actually history - and the Bible - shows us that this is not true. Your prayers matter. You are part of the solution.
Secondly, we need to tell our government that this is a priority for Canadians. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has condemned the attacks on behalf of the government, but I believe stronger action must be taken by world leaders if this horror is to be stopped. Writing a letter to your Member of Parliament on behalf of your church or yourself individually will give a strong message that we are deeply concerned about the slaughter of innocents and that we will stand behind our government addressing the situation in Nigeria. Writing a letter will only take minutes of your time, but the impact has the potential to save thousands of lives. More than 10,000 people were murdered by Boko Haram in 2014 and the violence is escalating.
Lastly, we need to raise awareness of this issue in our circles of influence and ask our friends and family to join us in expressing our concern to our leaders. The more people that speak up, the greater impact we can have. If you need help identifying your Member of Parliament, use this link to quickly find out: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Parlinfo/Compilations/HouseofCommons/MemberByPostalCode.aspx?Menu=HOC
Thank you for taking the time to be a voice for the vulnerable in Nigeria and joining with us to make a difference. Together, we can change the world!