CNN World -- Nigeria must hold extremists accountable

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October 4, 2013 | By Robert P. George

The following op-ed appeared in CNN World on October 4, 2013.

Editor's note: Robert P. George is the chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). The views expressed are his own.

As Nigeria considers its future following this week's celebration of its 53rd anniversary of independence, its leaders must confront a real and perhaps growing threat to the nation's stability - Boko Haram. The radical Islamist group, whose name literally means "western education is a sin,” regards Nigeria's federal and northern state governments, as well as the country's political and religious elites, as morally corrupt. It rejects the West and secular democracy and seeks to implement its "pure” version of Shariah law. But overcoming the Boko Haram challenge will take more than a military response - it also requires an approach that addresses Nigeria's tolerance of long-running sectarian violence, protects religious freedom and enforces rule of law.

For the past two years, Boko Haram has been the primary perpetrator of religious-related violence and gross religious freedom violations in Nigeria. In August of this year, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which I chair, issued a report highlighting the recent toll of Boko Haram's targeted assaults on religious institutions and leaders. The numbers are troubling.

Read more .

To interview a USCIRF Commissioner, please contact Kalinda Stephenson at 202-786-0613 or kstephenson@uscirf.gov.

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