Christian Genocide in Africa: An Interview with Johnnie Moore and Rabbi Abraham Cooper
How much are you aware of Christians being singled out for murder in Africa? While the world is fixated on jihadist threats in the Middle East, terrorists are also massacring men, women, and children across lands from Nigeria to Kenya. Two advocates for religious freedom and human rights—one Jewish and one Christian—explain what’s happening, why it matters, and what must be done now.
Bible Gateway interviewed Johnnie Moore (@JohnnieM) and Rabbi Abraham Cooper (@simonwiesenthal) about their book, The Next Jihad: Stop the Christian Genocide in Africa (W Publishing, 2020).
How did an evangelical Christian pastor and an orthodox Jewish rabbi come to collaborate on this book (and why is it important that you have)?
Rabbi Abraham Cooper: The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish human rights NGO, honored Rev. Moore some years ago with our Medal of Valor for his life-saving efforts in help to save endangered Iraqi Christians. He was our youngest honoree ever. We became fast friends and collaborators on multi-faith activities and human rights from Indonesia to Bahrain to Azerbaijan and beyond. It was I who pushed for us to get on the ground in Nigeria, as it was clear the voices of innocent victims weren’t being heard. We were lucky to have gone when we did. A few weeks later the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Johnnie Moore: One of the things I love the most about this book is that, in addition to discussing the emergency need to save persecuted Christians in Nigeria, it also tells a powerful story of Jewish and Christian collaboration. You see it especially in the introduction (which you can download for free at www.nextjihad.com), in the chapter titled “The Moral Imperative to Act” and in the epilogue. We called our work “multi-faith” not “inter-faith” because we’re working alongside one another as a Jew and as a Christian, making a difference together. Christians, though, are missing a lot by not studying the Jewish perspective on the part of the Bible we share.[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Why the Jewish Roots of Christianity are Important: An Interview with Curt Landry]
Why is the Almighty referred to as “G-d” in this book?
Rabbi Abraham Cooper: In Jewish tradition, we have deep reverence for the name of G-d—most often referred to as YAHWEH. When written in Hebrew, Jewish law does not permit erasing his name, so we generally use the term Hashem (literally, The Name) instead. Many of us extend it when we refer to G-d in English; we replace the “o” with a “–“ as a reminder to whom we are referring.
Johnnie Moore: Jewish or Christian aside, I think we could all use a lot more reverence for G-D. I hope our choice to honor his name in this way will inspire us all to think differently about his holy name.[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Did You Know the Founder of Christianity Was Jewish?]
How are terrorists exploiting Africa and finding refuge there?
Rabbi Abraham Cooper: It seems that Africa gets scant attention from the world powers unless there are natural resources at stake. For the average American, it’s far removed from our daily reality. That’s a plus for terror groups or other insurgencies to incubate and develop. Endemic poverty and corruption, historic grievances, and the residue of colonialism all add to the potential toxic brew.
Johnnie Moore: Terrorists in Africa have discovered they can target Christians, or others, with impunity. For many believers they’re literally living in what King David called (in Psalm 23) “the valley of the shadow of death,” but these believers certainly “fear no evil.” You won’t believe the power of their testimonies, as we’ve written them in the book. Maybe people ought to begin not with chapter one but with chapter five where we tell the story of the pastor who had to be a hostage negotiator, has had two churches burned down, yet has held on to his faith.[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, The Staggering Picture of Christian Persecution: An Interview with Johnnie Moore]
Who are Boko Haram, Islamic State, and Fulani militants you write about and what are their objectives?
Rabbi Abraham Cooper: Fulani violence is often linked to financial and territorial gain; Boko Haram and ISIS are well known and dreaded Islamist terrorist entities. Ultimately they seek control over territory, resources, and people who can further fuel their vision of an Islamicized continent.
Johnnie Moore: They want to eradicate that whole part of Africa of its Christians and brutally murder every single Muslim who stands in their way. We wrote this book in order to make it more difficult for them to accomplish that goal. They will fail. People should read the book and tell the stories to everyone they know.
You quote a Nigerian who says, “There is nothing poverty cannot cause.” Please explain that.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper: If you don’t have food to feed your family and someone offers you money to follow orders, many people will do what they perceive they have to to survive. That, more often than ideology, is what brings recruits to the terrorists.
Johnnie Moore: Terrorists always exploit other vulnerabilities. By addressing poverty, security, and other issues, we make it much more difficult for terrorists to turn sparks of violence and hatred into raging infernos.[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Bible Verses for the International Days of Prayer for the Persecuted Church]
What is the status of the Christian church in the African areas you describe in the book?
Johnnie Moore: The African continent may now have the largest, most vibrant Christian community in the world. The epicenter of Christianity has moved from Western Europe and the United States to South America and Africa. The church is enormous, and the persecuted Christian church is unwavering, inspiring in their commitment to their faith.
What do you want readers of this book to do?
Rabbi Abraham Cooper: Wake up! America is a blessed nation and a powerful one. Whatever our religion or political persuasion, we, as Americans, have the tools to do more to help innocents being persecuted and killed primarily because of their faith.
Johnnie Moore: I want every reader to be inspired by the strength of the faith of believers there, and I pray that everyone till take some kind of action to help. We’ve fulfilled the promise we made to victims to tell their stories and to be their voice. I pray their stories will echo through communities of faith and the halls of power so loudly that the world can no long ignore this travesty… before we’re looking at another Rwanda.
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What is a favorite Bible passage of yours and why?
Rabbi Abraham Cooper: My favorite biblical hero is Nachson. In Jewish tradition, when the Israelites were trapped by the approaching Egyptian army at the Red Sea’s edge, Moses started praying to G-d. He was told that now wasn’t a time for prayer but action. It was Nacshon who understood the message. He jumped into the sea. Only then did G-d miraculously split it so the nation could cross to the other side. Bottom-line: each of us can be a Nachson, G-d’s junior partner as it were.
Johnnie Moore: For my entire life, I’ve always written a single reference under name: 2 Corinthians 12:9 — “…My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness…’”
What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App and Bible Audio App?
Johnnie Moore: Bible Gateway is the first place any Christian should go online, everyday!
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Rabbi Abraham Cooper: When people of faith come together to make a difference, G-d will help.
Johnnie Moore: This is an emergency situation. We must do more, now!
The Next Jihad is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.
Bio: Rev. Johnnie Moore is a noted speaker, author, and human rights activist. He serves as the president of Congress of Christian Leaders and is the founder of The Kairos Company, one of America’s leading boutique communications consultancies. Moore is best known for his extensive multifaith work on the intersection of faith and foreign policy throughout the world, but especially in the Middle East.
Moore has been named one of America’s 25 most influential evangelicals, and he is the youngest recipient of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s prestigious Medal of Valor for his extensive work on behalf of threatened Christians in the Middle East, an honor he shared on the same evening (posthumously) with the late Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres.
Moore serves as a presidential appointee to the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom and sits on many boards, including those of World Help and the National Association of Evangelicals. He also serves on the Anti-Defamation League’s Middle East Task Force and is on the advisory board of the ADL-Aspen Institute’s Civil Society Fellowship. He is a Fellow at the Townsend Institute for Leadership and Counseling at Concordia University Irvine. His undergraduate and graduate studies were in religion at Liberty University.
Rabbi Abraham Cooperis associate dean and director of the Global Social Action Agenda of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish human rights organization with over four hundred thousand family members.
In 1977 Rabbi Cooper came to Los Angeles to help Rabbi Marvin Hier found the Simon Wiesenthal Center, giving him the remarkable privilege to know and work with Simon Wiesenthal, of blessed memory, for nearly thirty years. Rabbi Cooper has testified before the United Nations (where the Center is an official NGO) in New York and Geneva, presented testimony before the US Senate, the Japanese Diet, the French Parliament, and the OSCE. He is also a founding member of Israel’s Global Forum on Antisemitism.
Rabbi Cooper has his BA and MS from Yeshiva University and a PhD from the Jewish University of America. He is a recipient of Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel Community Service Leadership Memorial Award and the Orthodox Union’s National Leadership Award. The Newsweek Daily Beast Company has listed Rabbi Cooper, together with Rabbi Hier, as number eight among the “50 Most Influential Rabbis in the United States.”
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The post Christian Genocide in Africa: An Interview with Johnnie Moore and Rabbi Abraham Cooper appeared first on Bible Gateway Blog.
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July 29, 2021