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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Family Research Council, along with 46 interfaith international religious liberty groups and individuals, signed onto a letter calling on President Biden to re-designate Nigeria as a country of particular concern (CPC) after a recent spate of targeted violence against Nigerian Christians. The calls for the re-designation came after the Biden administration's State Department removed the country from its CPC list in November. The country was first put on the countries of particular concern list in December 2020.
Other signers to the letter include organizations and individuals such as: Dr. Hassan John, Director of Communications, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion; former Congressman Frank Wolf; Boko Haram kidnapping survivor Joy Bishara; Stephen Enada and Kyle Abts of International Committee on Nigeria (ICON); FRC's Special Advisor for Religious Freedom Andrew Brunson; Rev. Dr. Benjamin Kwashi, Anglican Bishop of Jos; Sam Brownback, former Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom; Nina Shea, Director of the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom; Mariam Ibraheem, Co-founder and Director of Global Mobilization for the Tahrir Alnisa Foundation; ADF International and ChinaAid.
FRC president Tony Perkins, who signed the letter, commented:
"The CPC designation is the U.S. government's official 'worst of the worst' list regarding religious freedom violations. Nigeria's religious freedom problems are obvious and rapidly deteriorating even further. The Biden administration's removal of Nigeria from the CPC list defies logic and sound policymaking. This must be remedied and Nigeria placed back on the CPC list so the full force of the federal government can be harnessed to address this crisis."
The letter reads, in part:
"How can it be, less than a year after that significant designation, that Nigeria's CPC designation has been dropped without a public explanation? The ongoing violence, killing, and displacement against Christians and others have only increased. In fact, during 2021, massacres happen almost nightly, while by day, young boys are killed in the fields. Pregnant women are brutally dismembered, their babies mutilated before their eyes. And now, an entire church congregation has been abducted and held captive.
"For years, the Nigerian government has done virtually nothing to stop this violence. In order for Nigeria to have been removed from the key list of Countries of Particular Concern, it ought to have demonstrated substantial progress in protecting religious communities from attacks and affirming the right of all people to practice their faith freely. This did not happen, and the removal of Nigeria's CPC designation is unjustified and sends the wrong message to governments around the world who engage in or tolerate egregious violations of religious freedom.
"If America ignores what's happening in Nigeria, it will only excuse leaders who choose to turn a blind eye to such travesties, in Nigeria and around the world. International pressure is one of the most significant weapons the world has to stop the slow-motion war unfolding in Nigeria. American leaders must not turn their backs and walk away.
"We, the undersigned, are writing on behalf of the communities in Nigeria where more Christians are currently being killed than anywhere else on the face of the earth. We implore you to immediately redesignate Nigeria as a Country of Particular Concern. Failing to do so rewards the Nigerian government for tolerating and engaging in egregious, systematic, and ongoing religious freedom violations and sends a message to extremists that their actions will go unpunished."
The letter can be read here: https://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF21L09.pdf