Celebrating Christmas, Jihad Style In Nigeria; 53 Dead At Food Center In Pakistan

by Martin Peretz | December 26, 2010

Aubuike Ihejririka, Nigeria’s army chief of staff, explained the terror that killed at least 40 people in northeast Nigeria on Christmas eve and Christmas day. According to Reuters in the New York Times (“Nigerian Villages and Churches Are Struck in Deadly Attacks”) he described these episodes rightly as a “a series of bomb blasts.” However, the commander emphasized that this “did not seem related to religious clashes that flare up sporadically between the country’s Muslim and Christian populations.” “That is terrorism, It’s an unfortunate incident.”

This is not Islamic terrorism, he seems to be saying, and it’s not Christian terrorism either. Believe that and you’ll believe anything.

Still, my guess is that President Obama would pretty much explain the phenomena the same way. Which really means no one is responsible.

But the fact, the cold fact, is that all of the Christmas victims were, well, yes, Christians. In Jos, in central Nigeria, volleys of bombs were detonated during Christmas eve celebrations, killing at least 32 people and wounding more than 50 wounded. Alas, one never catches up with how many of the wounded ended up dead.

In the attacks on two churches in Maiduguri, in northeastern Nigeria, at least six people were murdered, including a Baptist minister. Perhaps it is just a coincidence that all of the dead were Christmas.

An article by Ismail Khan, also in Saturday’s Times, reported that a “Female Bomber Kills Dozens in Pakistan,” her sex not quite being a milestone since another woman had blown herself up in Peshawar but taking only her own life. So, in fact, this was the country’s first successful female suicide bomber, killing no less than 43 people with roughly 100 maimed and injured.

There was something particularly vicious in this assault in that it happened “where people displaced by fighting were lining up for food” provided by the World Food Program. Most of the victims “were members of the Salarzai tribe, which is opposed to the Taliban and has taken up arms against them, and suggests that the bombing was an act of retribution by the Taliban.”

As for the pioneering woman “wearing a burqa...she threw a hand grenade, and before the security force could respond, she detonated herself” and the other victims with her.

Christmas set the stage for another bombing. According to the Associated Press, a bomb exploded at a Catholic church during the chanting of the Mass. “I was reading the Gospel. I was not yet finished when there was a loud explosion,” said the priest. Grace á Dieu, there were no dead but eleven were wounded.

And in Amsterdam, the A.P. reported, Dutch authorities arrested 12 Somali men—aged 19 to 48—charged with “planning a terrorist attack in the Netherlands.”

Of course, none of this has anything to do with Islamists.

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/the-spine/80477/celebrating-christmas-jihad-style-in-nigeria-53-dead-food-center-in-pakistan