ISIS seeks to provoke a new 'Crusade' by targeting Christians
We have documented ISIS atrocities committed against Christians the last few years. But with setbacks on the battlefield, ISIS appears to be adjusting its strategy. A new leader of the ISIS affiliated group Boko Haram says that the focus of its attacks will target Christians. The goal is to provoke a new "Crusade" that would allow Islam to eliminate its enemies.
Earlier this month, a man named Abu Musab al-Barnawi announced that he had taken over the infamous Boko Haram organization. And his first message as Boko Haram’s leader was as clear as it was concise—on his watch, the group’s main focus will be killing Christians.
According to an interview published earlier this month by the self-proclaimed Islamic State group (ISIS), al-Barnawi threatened to bomb churches and kill Christians, but will no longer attack places used by Muslims.
The man described as the new wali, or governor, of ISIS West Africa Province (as Boko Haram wants to be known), said there is a plot by the Western nations to Christianize the region and also claimed that charity organizations are being used to achieve this, according to an interview published in the Islamic State newspaper al-Nabaa and translated by SITE Intelligence Group.
"They strongly seek to Christianize the society,” he said of these charities. “They exploit the condition of those who are displaced under the raging war, providing them with food and shelter and then Christianizing their children."
The man who now runs Boko Haram said the group will deal with Christians by "booby-trapping and blowing up every church that we are able to reach, and killing all of those who we find from the citizens of the cross."
Not only were al-Barnawi’s intentions clear, his agenda for Boko Haram also appears to be a clear script written by ISIS, to whom he answers. The new leader will be expected to deliver results that his predecessor, Abubakar Shekau, failed to achieve.
We have seen Boko Haram blow up Christian churches in Nigeria on major holidays like Easter and Christmas. But focusing their strategy on eliminating Christian influences is something new. It promises to endanger the lives of every Christian in the region.
In recent months, Boko Haram has undergone a lot of turmoil with the terrorist organization essentially splitting into two groups; a larger group that wishes to follow the leaders of ISIS and a smaller group that wants to continue to operate mostly independently. According to US officials, this has made Boko Haram more likely to strike at western interests - charities and aid groups that operate in the region, as well as churches and other symbols of Christianity.
The US is assisting the Nigerian military in their war against ISIS, and they are doing better. But they certainly can't protect everyone and that's where this new strategy by Boko Haram will bear fruit.