Unconventional tool suppressing extremism

By July 16, 2013
Photo courtesy of FH.

Photo courtesy of FH.

Africa (MNN) — International governments are ramping up their efforts to suppress extremist elements in Africa.

The U.S. has drones running new surveillance on jihadists in Niger, Denmark is working with Burkina Faso to nip extremist elements before they become too dangerous, and Swiss experts are training nationals in Nigeria to uproot money schemes aiding jihad.

According to The Times, all of these efforts are summed as “border surveillance, enhanced intelligence and police cooperation, the rule of law, arms trafficking and undercutting terrorists’ financial networks.”

Firearms and military efforts are a critical part of dousing the threat of extreme African Islamists, but there’s another subtle approach.

“While those are undoubtedly important interventions, it continues to strike me as nothing less than absurd that there seem to be very few people arguing for more programs that will bring hope and a future to poor, desperate, frustrated people in these struggling nations…. It’s interventions like these that I believe will turn the tide in the regions of Africa that are threatened by extremism,” writes Food for the Hungry (FH) President Dave Evans.

Research further supports that humanitarian aid is just as critical in dousing the threat of extreme African Islamists. 83% of military leaders support humanitarian efforts like health, food assistance and education, according to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. They say aid developing economies along with diplomacy is important for national security.

FH works in Burundi, DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda bringing aid and sharing the hope of Jesus Christ.

Evans describes FH’s aid efforts: “Agricultural production and marketing programs that help poor farmers to triple and quadruple their crop yields and increase their household income through the sale of that extra produce. Maternal and child health and nutrition programs that produce healthy children who thrive in life. And most importantly, education programs that help more children to excel in school and graduate.”

As humanitarian aid builds up communities physically, the Gospel message brings in spiritual nourishment reviving communities with God’s eternal hope.

Evans says all of this crowds out the more dangerous elements that may foster jihad. “When the tide of jihadism rises in increasingly disparate places around the developing world, the question needs to be asked as to whether ‘guns’ or ‘butter’ will be brought to bear in response. I, for one, would argue for tangible assistance that helps families and communities to develop, progress and have a reason to build for tomorrow. Only then will we see the tide turn.”

Pray for FH’s ministry and for jihadists and communities in Africa to come to Christ. You can also support their work here.

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