On April 16th, armed militants seized more than 200 high school girls from the town of Chibok in northern Nigeria. The armed militants are suspected members of an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria, the Islamic extremist group in Northern Nigeria. For the past several years, Boko Haram (whose name translates to “Western education is a sin”) has been ramping up attacks against anyone or anything perceived as Western (and Christians are almost always the target of their attacks). Their range of attacks vary from disguising themselves as policemen, so they can stop individuals they suspect of being Christians, to attacking more than 300 churches in 2013 alone. And now, an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria is suspected to be responsible for kidnapping these girls, because they were pursuing an education- an act in direct opposition with the Sharia Law that an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria follows. As a result of all these horrific attacks, Nigeria ranks as the most violent country on the World Watch List, with more than 2073 people killed for their faith since November of 2012. As these girls are held hostage, it is vital that we act on their behalf. Here are the top 3 things you can do to help these young women: 1. Pray The number one thing that persecuted Christians ask for is our prayers. And though to some it might seem like a passive reaction, we believers know that prayer has changed the course of history. God has changed the hearts of leaders, fellow-countrymen and even persecutors because of the faithful prayers of Christians around the world. Here are some specific ways in which you can pray for them. 2. Spread The Word & Educate Some prominent leaders, artist and other influencers are shedding light on this important story by using the hashtag #bringbackourgirls.
Join with them in spreading the news about not only this story, but what daily life is like for Christians in northern Nigeria. There’s lots of information and resources available to share. 3. Learn More About Our Women & Children Advancement Program Though almost all Christians are persecuted by these Muslim extremists in northern Nigeria, women and children are especially targeted and are treated as second class citizens, as seen in this particular case. Boko Haram is trying to ensure that women do not have access to education, work or anything that contradicts Sharia law. Open Doors is working with women and children in places like northern Nigeria, to empower them with these life-changing programs. You can learn more about these programs here. Thank you for standing with these young women and the countless others who are being persecuted for their faith.