June 17, 2012

Nigerian Violence: AP, Reuters Won’t Label Boko Haram a Muslim Terrorist Group

It would appear that the establishment press is determined to portray a “both sides are at fault” equivalency as much as possible in Nigeria where almost none exists.

Earlier today, Patrick Poole at the PJ Tatler pointed out that a brief initial Associated Press item from Lagos would cause a person, in Poole’s words, to “come away mystified as to why these churches were subject to apparently random ‘violence.’” He specifically objected to the vagueness of a sentence claiming that “Churches have been increasingly targeted by violence in Nigeria.” Later more detailed dispatches from Reuters and the AP aren’t much more helpful, especially as they both fail to tag the principal perpetrators of the violence, the Boko Haram, as the terrorists that they are.

For those who don’t know, Boko Haram is “is a Muslim sect that seeks to abolish the secular system of government and establish sharia law in the country,” and “is also known for attacking Christian churches.”

The Reuters report by Isaac Abrak is the more risible of the two in that it only specifically identifies those who are carrying out reprisals as Christians while failing to tie Boko Haram to the latest attacks (bolds are mine throughout this post):

Nigeria church bombings kill seven, spark reprisals

Bombings at three churches in Nigeria’s northern Kaduna state killed at least seven people and wounded others on Sunday, triggering retaliatory attacks by Christian youths who dragged Muslims from cars and killed them, officials and witnesses said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombings but the Islamist Boko Haram group has often attacked church services in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and split roughly evenly between Christians and Muslims.

… Two blasts rocked churches in the town of Zaria within minutes of each other. First, a suicide bomber drove a blue Honda civic car into a church, its pastor told a Reuters cameraman at the scene.

“Three people are confirmed killed. Others have been taken to hospital for treatment,” said Reverend Nathan Waziri.

Then, attackers threw bombs at another church, killing four children who were playing on the streets outside, said Deborah Osagie, who lives opposite the church. She said the attackers were later caught by a crowd and killed.

A blast hit a third church, called the Shalom Church, in the state’s main city of Kaduna, witnesses said.

… After the bombings, Christian youths blocked the highway leading south out of Kaduna to the Nigerian capital Abuja, pulling Muslims out of cars and killing them, witnesses said.

“We had to return home when we saw (the Christian youths) attacking. I saw many bodies on the ground, but I don’t know how many were dead or just injured,” said Kaduna resident Rafael Gwaza.

Witness Haruna Isah said up to 20 people might have been killed in reprisals at the road-block. “There were bodies everywhere on the ground,” he said.

A few paragraphs later, Reuters does note that Islamic “militants” were responsible for church attacks which took place a week ago. It’s almost as if there’s a required cooling-off period before its reporters will accurately describe an attack attack Christians as Muslim terror-related.

At the Associated Press (note: report was revised as this post was prepared), it took Inka Ibukun and Godwin Attah until the seventh paragraph to identify any religious sect involved in any way:

Churches have been increasingly targeted by violence in Nigeria. The situation has led churches in Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north to boost their security in a nation of more than 160 million people almost equally divided between Muslims and Christians.

Police arrested one of the bombers who survived. (Kaduna State police chief Mohammed Abubakar) Jinjiri declined to say who police suspected might be responsible, though a radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram has claimed similar church attacks in the past.

Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is sacrilege” in the Hausa language of Nigeria’s north, is waging an increasingly bloody fight with security agencies and the public. More than 560 people have been killed in violence blamed on the sect this year alone, according to an Associated Press count.

The Nigerian Red Cross said young people had started protesting in Kaduna, leading the state government to impose a 24-hour curfew in a state deeply divided along religious lines. An Associated Press reporter also saw billows of smoke over a mosque in a predominantly Christian part of the city. People had mounted illegal roadblocks and were seen harassing motorists. A motorcycle rider in that same neighborhood lay seriously hurt and bleeding by the road side. Motorbike riders there are often presumed to be Muslim and become easy targets during reprisal attacks by Christians.

The truly annoying aspect of such coverage is that there is no aspect of Christianity’s expressed beliefs which sanctions “reprisals” and no Biblically-based defense for random “reprisal” attacks (or for the far less frequent attacks on mosques, which unfortunately are occurring). Meanwhile, Boko Haram jihadists publicly justify their terrorist actions as carrying out Islam’s fundamental tenets.

The primary message which should be coming out of Nigeria is that things would probably be much more peaceful in that country if Boko Haram weren’t engaging in serial terrorism. But AP and Reuters, as seen here, seem to be doing everything they can to avoid relaying it.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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