Nigerian Christians facing crisis largely unrecognized by the West, says Anglican archbishop

Christians in Nigeria are facing a humanitarian crisis due to the severity of persecution, but only a few in the West give their attention to this situation, according to Anglican archbishop Benjamin Kwashi from northern Nigeria.

(Reuters/Joe Penney)Churchgoers sing at an Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) church in Abuja, May 11, 2014.

During the recent Speak Freedom Dallas Summit held at the Dallas Baptist University, Archbishop Kwashi urged the audience to speak for those who are unable to do so. He highlighted Western media's tendency to contain a report on violence in Nigeria within the term "clash" instead of outright calling it a massacre, The Baptist Standard relays.

"We must speak on behalf of the voiceless. I have lost pastors. I have lost friends," said Archbishop Kwashi. "The injustice facing Christians in northern Nigeria is unbelievable."

Kwashi questioned the labeling of these violent incidents as a clash between Muslims and Christians. He pointed out that the victims in these incidents were murdered in their sleep, which makes it a massacre.

Christians in Nigeria want their fellow believers in Western countries to know what is happening to them and understand their situation. Kwashi is asking them to pray for the believers in his homeland and to pray that "God will restrain the hands of killers."

Meanwhile, a new report from the Nigeria Conflict and Security Analysis Network says many of the people in states in Nigeria's middle belt region are Christians. The believers are easy targets for persecution and they are displaced from their homes and neglected by the government, the Christian Broadcasting Network details.

Based on the said report, more than 800 Christians were killed and around the same number of people were injured within three years. The attacks — mostly perpetrated by Muslim herdsmen against Christian farmers — have also left 100 churches destroyed, and the increasing violence has caused 21,000 believers to seek refuge in internally displaced persons' camps.

According to the researchers, many of Nigeria's leaders formulate state laws that favor Muslims. This leaves the Christian community with little or no help from the government.