Nigeria (MNN) — The Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) posted a video showing the execution of 20 Nigerian Christians. They said the video should be a warning to “Christians around the world.”
The fighters also mentioned revenge for the death of a former IS leader in Syria last year.
But Todd Nettleton with The Voice of the Martyrs USA says the video serves yet another purpose. “We saw this with the ISIS videos early on: it was a recruiting mechanism. ‘Hey, look how powerful we are. We can kill people with impunity. We can put videos of it on the internet and nobody can stop us.’”
“That was a recruiting tool to say, ‘Good Muslims around the world, come and join us.’”
In recent months, ISWAP attacks against Nigerian Christians have increased. It coincides with a conspiracy theory that Nigerian Christians want to subjugate Muslims.
So far, the Nigerian government has done little to stop the attacks. In some cases, attackers were even spotted wearing military uniforms.
Officials have been saying all the right things, Nettleton says. “’Yes, we’re going to put a stop to this. Yes, we’re committed to stopping these attacks. We’re committed to religious freedom.’ And yet the attacks keep happening.”
Pray the love of Jesus would shine through Nigerian believers. Ask God to protect them. Nettleton says, “They don’t respond with violence, but instead they respond with forgiveness and love. It really puts on display the difference between following Jesus and following radical Islam. People are drawn to Christians.”
Pray also that Nigerian leaders would get serious about addressing the rampant violence.