FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 28, 2020
USCIRF Condemns Execution of Aid Workers by ISWAP Militants
Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) denounced the execution of five aid workers on July 19 in northeast Nigeria by the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), a Boko Haram faction. ISWAP militants claimed responsibility for the killings of these workers they had abducted last month. In a video, the fighters said that the executions were a warning to “all those being used by infidels to convert Muslims to Christianity.”
“ISWAP’s execution of aid workers is beyond reprehensible. The militant Islamic group shows no remorse as it continues to target civilians based on their faith, such as Leah Sharibu who was abducted by Boko Haram over two years ago,” said USCIRF Vice Chair Tony Perkins who advocates for Leah Sharibu as part of USCIRF’s Religious Prisoner of Conscience Project.
Analysis conducted by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies found that African militant Islamist groups like Boko Haram have demonstrated a decade of “nearly uninterrupted growth” in activity, including a 31 percent jump in violent events involving militant Islamist groups in Africa just in the last year.
“These militant groups represent neither the history nor the future of Islam in Africa,” said USCIRF Commissioner Frederick A. Davie. “Their violent actions are a disgrace to the region’s vibrant Islamic heritage, and they must be countered by strong, inclusive partnerships between African nations and the international community, including the U.S. government.”
In its 2020 Annual Report, USCIRF recommended that the U.S. Department of State designate Nigeria as a “country of particular concern,” or CPC, and that Boko Haram be designated an “entity of particular concern,” or EPC, under the International Religious Freedom Act for engaging in or tolerating systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze and report on threats to religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion or belief. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at Media@USCIRF.gov or Danielle Ashbahian at firstname.lastname@example.org.