ROME, February 19, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Catholic bishop in Nigeria is charging that the US government’s dedication to population control and pro-homosexual “cultural imperialism” in Africa is the reason that the Obama administration is dragging its heels in offering military support for the fight against the militant Islamist group Boko Haram.
Bishop Emmanuel Badejo of Oyo told the online Catholic magazine Aleteia that there is “a complicity also in the West in what is happening.”
“I take it all back to the agenda of population control,” he told Aleteia’s Diane Montagna. The bishop’s interview took place as Rome and the Italian government stepped up security measures amidst threats by Islamic militants.
Italy is considered to be a prime target for Islamist militants entering the country in the waves of refugee migrants arriving by boat from Libya. At the same time, reports are growing of ties between Boko Haram and the Syrian-based Islamist group ISIS that has this week also murdered 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya.
The western countries, Bishop Badejo said, are willing to do “anything that can reduce the population.” He said, “In fact, I think that Africa is suffering greatly from a cultural imperialism that threatens to erode our cultural values.”
“There has been an inordinate alarm about the exploding populations in Africa. And anything that can be done to decrease or limit the growth of the population in Africa is quite welcome.”
And this includes doing nothing to stop the systematic slaughter of civilians that is the modus operandi of Boko Haram. “The United States actually said it would help Nigeria with Boko Haram only if we modify our laws concerning homosexuality, family planning, and birth control,” a form of political blackmail that Bishop Badejo called “criminal” and opposed to the stated devotion in the West to “freedom.”
A year ago, the US issued a strong condemnation of a law prohibiting homosexual activity passed by the Nigerian Parliament. Both Secretary of State John Kerry and his predecessor, Hillary Clinton, have said that promoting the gay “rights” agenda is a “top priority” for U.S. foreign policymakers. The bishop’s assertion that the lack of response to Boko Haram has come from this policy was backed by Republican Congressman Steve Stockman who said shortly after the Nigerian law was passed that the US had “information” that would help the country retrieve the 200 girls who made world headlines when they were kidnapped by Boko Haram.
“The mistake on our side – the United States’ side – is that we have laws preventing us from sharing that information with the Nigerian military. And one of the reasons is that we don’t like some of the social policy of the Nigerian government,” Stockman said.
Bishop Badejo said that for Africans, “life is sacred,” and that “these are the values we cherish and these are the values we want to keep.” He said that Western civilization today “is sick” in that it can “watch hundreds of people dying in Nigeria every day and look away.”
What the west says “about human dignity and human rights is mere hypocrisy,” he said. “There is a diminishing sense of the respect for the sanctity of life. And all of this is to be imposed on Africa, at whatever cost: we think that it is immoral and that it is unjust.”
For African people, he said, “a child is a treasure, even if that child is going to have to go through some difficulty in growing up. In the West, if a child cannot have the best of life, then it should not live. That’s not the African world view.”
Bishop Badejo blamed decades of political corruption and social neglect, a failure of the Nigerian government to educate and give opportunities to young people, for the rise of Boko Haram. He said the group came to prominence in the north after the deterioration of the native Hausa culture. This “lack of a cultural fiber, the maladministration of the past, the dissolution of the premises of a democratic government,” has led to “millions of young people” being left with no “no promise, no capacity at all,” to improve their lives, leaving them “prepared great ground for Boko Haram,” he said.
Bishop Badejo, who is from the west of Nigeria, said Christians and Muslims there live in peace and mutual cooperation. He said that it seemed unlikely that Boko Haram or other militant Islamist groups would make headway there, or convince young men to kill.
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Experts say Boko Haram, an Islamic supremacist organization, has already conquered 20 percent of Nigeria’s territory, as well as parts of neighboring Niger and Chad, for its “caliphate,” won by a systematic campaign of bombing, mass murder, enslavement, and kidnapping. The US State Department describes Boko Haram’s “Caliphate” as the only “strong state” in the area, and notes that the politically weak and heavily corrupt Nigerian government has little power to stop them.
Bishop Badejo lamented the disinterest of the western media in the ongoing Islamist crisis in northern Nigeria, saying, “tens of thousands have been dying in Nigeria from terrorism. A few people — one life is bad enough, that’s true — but a few people die in France and the whole world is up in arms against the terrorists. So why in France and not in Africa? And I have not received any answer from anyone.”
Asked if he knew whether Boko Haram is connected formally with ISIS, the bishop said information is hard to get, but affirmed that Boko Haram militants who have been arrested by Nigerian government forces have been found not to be ethnically Nigerian. It is known, he said, that Boko Haram “has been strengthened by other groups coming from the north of Africa and beyond, like those who fought in Libya and who have been fighting in Syria.”
The bishop spoke to Aleteia in Rome, where both the Italian government and the Vatican’s Swiss Guard, are stepping up security measures in areas thought to be ISIS targets, including St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican. Italian military police have increased their presence on the ground in Rome at the news that ISIS militants have threatened to “conquer Rome” before murdering 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya and have overrun the Libyan town of Sirte, not more than 500 km from Italian soil.
Notably, the US State Department issued a statement on Tuesday about the ritualistic beheading of the 21 Copts – already being called “martyrdom” by many Christian sources – that entirely excised the salient feature of the victims’ religion. This despite the fact that ISIS also issued a threat that they will soon “conquer Rome,” a goal of Islamic militants for centuries.
The killers published a video of the grisly murders, titled “A Message Signed With Blood To The Nation Of The Cross.” In the video, one of the killers says, “…today, we are on the south of Rome, on the land of Islam, Libya, sending another message.” After the killings, one of the terrorists says, “And we will conquer Rome, by Allah’s permission, the promise of our Prophet, peace be upon him.” In the video, some of the men can be heard whispering the name, “Jesus” before they are killed.
The State Department’s statement, however, issued jointly with France, Italy, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, said only that the murder of “twenty-one Egyptian citizens in Libya by ISIL-affiliated terrorists once again underscores the urgent need for a political resolution to the conflict in Libya.”
By contrast, the Egyptian government, which came to power after ousting the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, has called for a national week of mourning. The Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab announced that funds would be made available for the construction of a church dedicated to the 21 martyrs and that the victims’ families will receive financial compensation.
The Catholic Bishop of Giza, Egypt, Antonios Aziz Mina, said, “The name of Jesus was the last word on their lips.” The men, Bishop Mina said, “entrusted themselves to the one who would receive them soon after. That name, whispered in the last moments, was like the seal of their martyrdom.”
As reports grow of ISIS and native Libyan militant Islamic groups merging, and presenting an increasingly credible threat of invasion of European countries, Italy’s Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni addressed the Italian Parliament saying that Italy is “ready to fight” if the need arises. “The time at our disposal is not infinite and is in danger of running out soon.”
Gentiloni, however, stressed that Italy will not be following Egypt and Jordan’s example of airstrikes. “Saying we are on the front line does not mean announcing adventures nor crusades,” he said. He added that Italy is ready to contribute to peacekeeping efforts, repair infrastructure and provide military training for local militias.
What Italy is doing against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, Gentiloni said, “is the way a democratic country responds to barbarism and we are doing it in friendship with the vast majority of the Islamic community who refuse to see their faith hijacked.”
Despite the increasing threat of ISIS activity in Libya, and calls from the political right for a military intervention, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi continues to maintain that a “political” resolution to the escalating Islamist crisis in Libya must still be sought. With the Italian military budget being cut by 40 percent two years ago, Renzi told Italian television, “It’s not the time for a military intervention.”
“Our proposal is to wait for the U.N. Security Council. The strength of the U.N. is decidedly superior to that of the radical militias,” he said.
Similarly, the Vatican’s Secretary of State told a meeting of Italian leaders that a military response in Libya should be saved as a “last option.” Cardinal Pietro Parolin, sometimes described as the pope’s “Prime Minister,” said that the west must “re-launch a diplomatic initiative” instead. Any military intervention, he said, must be “under the framework of international law” and “under the umbrella of the United Nations.”
Parolin denied that there had been a “specific threat” made against the Vatican, saying, “This does not mean that we should not be careful and vigilant, but without falling into alarmism.”
Parolin’s call for a diplomatic solution comes as reports surfaced of ISIS burning more captives alive in Iraq. The BBC reports that the police chief of the Iraqi town of al-Baghdadi, Col Qasim al-Obeidi, said ISIS militants captured and burned 45 civilian citizens after taking most of the town on Thursday. al-Obeidi said at least some of them were family members of Iraqi security forces. He said ISIS has executed at least 100 people in the town.