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Terrorists tell Nigerian president to 'convert or resign'

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 13th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The militant Islamist group Boko Haram is demanding that Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian to convert to Islam or resign. In an online video clip, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau demanded that President Jonathan to "repent and forsake Christianity." Speaking in Hausa, Shekau said the president should convert or resign if he wanted Boko Haram to end its violent campaign.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Presidential spokesman Reuben Abati dismissed the demand as attempted "blackmail . When Nigerians voted overwhelmingly for President Jonathan in the 2011 general election, they knew they were voting for a Christian," Abati told reporters.

"He has the mandate of Nigerians to serve his fatherland. Nobody should imagine that he will succumb to blackmail."

The demand is a common tenet of Islam. According to a hadith, the writings and sayings of the prophet, Sahih al-Bukhari has quoted Mohammed as saying, "I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform a that, then they save their lives an property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah."

The incident recalls a similar incident in 2006, when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent President Bush a letter inviting him to embrace Islam. Ahmadinejad urged Bush to make "a genuine return to the teachings of prophets, to monotheism and justice, to preserve human dignity and obedience to the Almighty and his prophets."

Boko Haram has targeted Christians in northern parts of Africa's most populous country with bombings and assaults, vowing to cleanse northern Nigeria of Christians.

Boko Haram's name roughly translates "Western education is forbidden," include banning non-Islamic education and extending shari'a (Islamic law) - currently implemented in 12 northern states, across the entire country. Forty percent of Nigerians identify themselves as Christians.

The Obama administration so far has resisted calls by U.S. lawmakers to designate Boko Haram as a foreign terrorist organization under American law.

Shekau and two other Boko Haram individuals have been listed this summer as "specially designated global terrorists" under an executive order designed to disrupt funding to terrorists.

Republican lawmakers Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, and Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.), chairman of the committee's counterterrorism and intelligence subcommittee, said the step was "insufficient."

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the administration was "continuing to look at the question of a broader designation."

"But as you know, Boko Haram is at the moment a loosely constructed group attached to trying to address grievances in the north. There are different views within the group, and we're continuing to look at that."

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