Abortion: Canada’s Silent Issue

By Daria Berstell

 

Reproductive rights, especially abortion policies, are highly contested issues around the world. However, perhaps nowhere is the debate over abortion as divisive, and occasionally violent, as it is in United States, where abortion, while legal, is subject to intense regulations. In Canada, on the other hand, abortion is not as much of an issue on the political stage and in the media, as one of the only countries without legal restrictions on abortion. The divergence in abortion policy in the United States and Canada can be traced to the respective U.S. and Canadian Supreme Court cases of Roe v. Wade and Morgentaler v. the Queen. These cases helped foster different legacies of abortion policy in both nations regarding abortion as a constitutional right, abortion as a medical issue, political party permeability, and legislative inactivity. The nature of these cases was progressive for its time, but resulted in the stagnation of abortion rights’ dialogue in Canada for many years to come. Today, the issue is rarely broached.

 

Abortion Rights in Canada

 

Until the 1800s, abortion was only against the law in Canada after quickening, the stage of a pregnancy when the fetus’ movements can be felt. This was derived from English common law, as many of the regulations and laws of Canada were. It wasn’t until 1803 that abortion after quickening was made a capital offense. Then, in 1837, quickening was dropped as the distinguishing stage of pregnancy and abortion in general was made illegal. Despite its criminalization , the laws were unenforceable and both safe and unsafe abortions continued.

 

Within the Canadian legal code, there was an exception that allowed for abortions to preserve the life of the mother. Abortion was allowed if the pregnancy “would make the woman a physical or mental wreck.” This legal ambiguity allowed some freedom for doctors to perform abortions. In the 1960s public opinion about abortion laws began to change with increased publication on new research and inquiries into abortion deaths. In 1969, the Canadian Criminal Code was amended to make abortion legal if signed off on by a three-doctor committee.Thus while some abortions were legal, others were not and abortion remained as part of the Criminal Code.

 

However, in 1988 the Canadian Supreme Court ruling of Morgentaler v. the Queen in Canada nullified the 1969 Criminal Code ruling on abortion. In this ruling, the Supreme Court declared all of Canada’s abortion laws to be unconstitutional. The Court decided that forcing a woman to carry a fetus to term if she did not meet certain requirements for an abortion subjected her reproductive capacity to the government and was a “breach of the woman’s right to security of the person.” This right was guaranteed in Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms which had been passed in 1982. Interestingly though, thirteen years earlier, the Canadian Supreme Court had refused to intervene in an abortion controversy, developing a policy of judicial restraint regarding abortion on the part of the Canadian Supreme Court.

 

Abortion Rights in the U.S.

 

Abortion was not prohibited or regulated in the United States, except for after quickening, before 1821 when Connecticut was the first state to create legislation that made it harder to obtain an abortion with restrictions placed on drugs needed to perform abortions. Also in 1821, New York made abortion after quickening a felony and pre-quickening a misdemeanor while retaining exceptions for when a pregnancy endangered the life of the mother. Between 1830 and 1900 there was steady progress towards making abortion illegal,  with forty-one states passing anti-abortion legislation. By 1900, abortion was a felony in every state. Despite the establishment of these anti-abortion policies, the laws were not enforced until the 1960s, when the prevalence of illegal abortions became public knowledge. While many states had followed New York’s example and put in places exceptions for preserving the woman’s life, many states did not. In those states, abortion was completely illegal under any circumstances which resulted in a significant amount of illegal abortions.

 

In 1973, Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the United States on the basis of a right to privacy. The ruling stated that criminal abortion laws that do not take into account the stage of the pregnancy and the interests of the woman are unconstitutional because they violate the Due Process Clause of the 14th amendment where the right to privacy, which protects personal decisions from government interference, was established. Though the Due Process clause does not explicitly state this right to privacy, recognizing that no person shall be “deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law,” which was established in previous court decisions, notably Griswold v. Connecticut created this precedent. Griswold made clear that while the Constitution does not mention privacy, the court had recognized it as a right. It would seem from these two stories of judicial legalization of abortion in certain circumstances that the issue in both countries developed on similar trajectories. However, closer reading reveals immense differences.

 

Differences in Interpretation

 

The greatest difference between Roe v. Wade and Morgentaler v. the Queen is that while the U.S. created a constitutional right to abortion by guaranteeing the right to abortion as part of the constitution of the United States, Canada asserted that its old abortion law violated Canada’s Charter of Rights, which eliminated all anti-abortion legislation and essentially legalized abortion. Thus, while the U.S’s legalization of abortion created and protected the right to abortion, Canada’s legalization resulted in no legislation on abortion, thus neither protecting the right to abortion nor banning abortion.

 

As such, the debates and lack thereof over abortion the United States and Canada, respectively, can be connected to these two decisions. In the United States, the two sides of the abortion debate are each connected to greater movements, and unlike in Canada, an ongoing battle continues. The pro-choice (pro-access to abortion) group is fundamentally tied to the feminist movement, while the pro-life group (anti-abortion) are connected but not tied to Christian groups and to the Republican Party. Pro-life groups are free to advocate and fight for their issue as single-issue groups do; while pro-choice groups must deal with being one part of the greater women’s movement. For pro-choice groups, this means they must advocate for their cause to remain a priority within the women’s movement while also advocating for their cause against the opposition. While pro-choice activists must fight on two fronts, pro-life group’s place in the Republican party allows activists a significant amount of room to influence legislation that attempted to restrict or repeal Roe. [1] In addition, the increasingly conservative court in the late 1970s made it much harder for pro-choice groups to use judicial appeals as their method of doing away with legislation that restricted abortion. The anti-abortion movement becoming a plank of the Republican Party has allowed it to exert a significant amount of influence in politics. This relationship has resulted in anti-abortion ideals having more success than pro-choice groups in legislative and judicial politics since 1973. Yet while the issue is hotly debated due to the nature of the “invented right” of abortion, the concrete legalization of abortion under the Canadian constitution has made the issue a silent one in Canada.

       

After the Morgentaler decision of 1988 Canadian abortion groups did not gain much traction in bringing their issue to the forefront of legislative or judicial agendas, unlike in the United States where abortion remained a public and legislative issue after Roe and does until this day. One factor in this may be that the morality of abortion does not seem to be a major question in Canada; rather, abortion is seen more as a medical issue. [2] Additionally, the Canadian government has a history of shying away from definitive responses, especially on social policies. [3] After Morgentaler, the Canadian Supreme Court showed a consistent desire for abortion to be a legislative issue with decisions in two other important cases where the Supreme Court refused to rule about a fetus’ right to life or a woman’s right to abortion. [4] This has resulted in abortion policy in Canada remaining at a standstill since 1988. This has continued the legacy of lack of action on abortion in Canada, while in the U.S., abortion policy legacy remains one of attempted policy and judicial changes. Abortion has not played a central role in Canadian politics for the past 20 years, while new legislation on abortion and especially regulation of abortion services is brought up nearly every year in the American legislature. While the American right to abortion remains a constitutional right, there is a legacy of attempting to repeal, change, and influence that right, while Canadian abortion policy has remained consistent and stagnant, resulting in abortion becoming relatively ignored in that country.

 

Burundi- The Next Rwanda?

By Adithya Sivakumar

        In 1994, the world stood by in shock as a purported 800,000 members of the Rwandan nation were killed in the span of two months as the result of ethnic tensions between the majority Hutu and minority Tutsi populations; the majority of those killed were Tutsis and moderate Hutus. This slaughter provoked not only civil war and an eventual Tutsi-led government, but also conflict in neighboring nations, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As Rwanda recovered from the brutal state-sponsored massacre, the international community at-large appeared to be resolved to prevent another large-scale tragedy, one that saw United Nations soldiers become useless in face of the massacre.

        In neighboring Burundi, however, recent events are harkening to those that occurred more than twenty years ago, provoking fresh fears of an ethnic conflict and possible genocide.

        The crisis was instigated by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s desire to seek a third term for office, which caused massive protests and clashes, along with a failed coup-d’état that provoked an even larger crackdown on the people of Burundi. In total, at least 439 have died, with more than 240,000 people fleeing the country, a crisis that has largely been overshadowed by crises and political instability elsewhere in the world. However, world leaders are keeping a close eye on the situation in Burundi, especially as government leaders throw terms that allude to rhetoric used during the Rwandan Genocide, such as telling security forces to go “work,” an euphemism that was used to describe the massacre of civilians in Rwanda.

Reasons for Concern

        Burundi is no stranger to ethnic and political conflict, as a twelve-year civil war between rebel Hutus and a Tutsi-led army killed about 300,000 people years ago. Additionally, Burundi and Rwanda have approximately the same ethnic makeup, which hovers around 85% in the Hutu majority and 15% in the Tutsi minority, causing further concern among international observers. The violence in Burundi appears to systematically target Tutsi individuals, which has led to even further worries due to parallels with the Rwandan Genocide.

        The roots of this ethnic conflict can be traced back to historical differences between Tutsi and Hutu populations, but these differences were exacerbated in the Belgian colonial period. Believing to Tutsi to be superior to the Hutu, the Belgians produced identity cards to distinguish the two groups, causing resentment from the Hutu who saw Tutsi generally be granted higher positions in government. This resentment fed the overthrow of the Tutsi-led Rwandan government at the end of Belgian rule, and laid the basis for Hutu-Tutsi tensions to this day.

        Another interesting aspect of the crisis is the level of international involvement in procuring a peace deal. As mentioned before, the community may be atoning for its large amount of inaction surrounding the Rwandan genocide, which is largely deemed a failure by the international community. Despite informants detailing to international bodies that genocide was about to occur, various governments and the United Nations ignored these warnings and were quite unprepared to handle the ensuing massacre. The United States, particularly, was especially wary of contributing forces to an international peacekeeping force due to the killing of American forces assigned to a humanitarian mission in Somalia just a year previously. Foreign governments focused on evacuating their own citizens and largely ignored the crisis afterwards, causing the plight of Rwandans to be ignored and the reduction of UNAMIR (UN Assistance Mission of Rwanda) peacekeeping force to drastically small numbers, making intervention nearly impossible.

The Plan for the Future

        In order to prevent another large-scale international debacle, governments around the world as well as the UN have made significant strides in Burundi to attempt to find a peace agreement. The UN Security Council has even made the trip twice to Burundi in the last ten months in order to foment a peace agreement. In stark contrast to the situation in Rwanda two decades prior, there is large agreement, even though the United States, that peacekeeping forces need to be sent to Burundi, even with the opposition of the incumbent government.

        With all eyes on Burundi, the good news appears to be that international action is likely in the face of future genocidal actions perpetrated by Nkurunziza’s government. Despite assurances that law-and-order may resurface, there are many that are very skeptical of a peaceful resolution, especially given the region’s turbulent history. The failed coup may have given Nkurunziza a blank check to commit atrocities in the lieu of capturing traitors, a frightening parallel to the shooting down of a plane that killed the Rwandan and Burundian presidents and gave the Rwandan government a loose justification on which to base their genocide. It is extremely essential that international bodies, such as the UN and African Union, and foreign governments to broker peace in a volatile setting fostered by colonialism and international inaction.

Burundi- The Next Rwanda?

        In 1994, the world stood by in shock as a purported 800,000 members of the Rwandan nation were killed in the span of two months as the result of ethnic tensions between the majority Hutu and minority Tutsi populations; the majority of those killed were Tutsis and moderate Hutus. This slaughter provoked not only civil war and an eventual Tutsi-led government, but also conflict in neighboring nations, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As Rwanda recovered from the brutal state-sponsored massacre, the international community at-large appeared to be resolved to prevent another large-scale tragedy, one that saw United Nations soldiers become useless in face of the massacre.

        In neighboring Burundi, however, recent events are harkening to those that occurred more than twenty years ago, provoking fresh fears of an ethnic conflict and possible genocide.

        The crisis was instigated by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s desire to seek a third term for office, which caused massive protests and clashes, along with a failed coup-d’état that provoked an even larger crackdown on the people of Burundi. In total, at least 439 have died, with more than 240,000 people fleeing the country, a crisis that has largely been overshadowed by crises and political instability elsewhere in the world. However, world leaders are keeping a close eye on the situation in Burundi, especially as government leaders throw terms that allude to rhetoric used during the Rwandan Genocide, such as telling security forces to go “work,” an euphemism that was used to describe the massacre of civilians in Rwanda.

Reasons for Concern

        Burundi is no stranger to ethnic and political conflict, as a twelve-year civil war between rebel Hutus and a Tutsi-led army killed about 300,000 people. Additionally, Burundi and Rwanda have approximately the same ethnic makeup, which hovers around 85% in the Hutu majority and 15% in the Tutsi minority, causing further concern among international observers. The violence in Burundi appears to systematically target Tutsi individuals, which has led to even further worries due to parallels with the Rwandan Genocide.

        The roots of this ethnic conflict can be traced back to historical differences between Tutsi and Hutu populations, but these differences were exacerbated in the Belgian colonial period. Believing to Tutsi to be superior to the Hutu, the Belgians produced identity cards to distinguish the two groups, causing resentment from the Hutu who saw Tutsi generally be granted higher positions in government. This resentment fed the overthrow of the Tutsi-led Rwandan government at the end of Belgian rule, and laid the basis for Hutu-Tutsi tensions to this day.

        Another interesting aspect of the crisis is the level of international involvement in procuring a peace deal. As mentioned before, the community may be atoning for its large amount of inaction surrounding the Rwandan genocide, which is largely deemed a failure by the international community. Despite informants detailing to international bodies that genocide was about to occur, various governments and the United Nations ignored these warnings and were quite unprepared to handle the ensuing massacre. The United States, particularly, was especially wary of contributing forces to an international peacekeeping force due to the killing of American forces assigned to a humanitarian mission in Somalia just a year previously. Foreign governments focused on evacuating their own citizens and largely ignored the crisis afterwards, causing the plight of Rwandans to be ignored and the reduction of UNAMIR (UN Assistance Mission of Rwanda) peacekeeping force to drastically small numbers, making intervention nearly impossible. With a history of inaction that seems to be replaying in the current situation, many international observers have expressed concern.

The Plan for the Future

        In order to prevent another large-scale international debacle, governments around the world as well as the UN have made significant strides in Burundi to attempt to find a peace agreement. The UN Security Council has even made the trip twice to Burundi in the last ten months in order to foment a peace agreement. In stark contrast to the situation in Rwanda two decades prior, there is large agreement, even through the United States, that peacekeeping forces need to be sent to Burundi, even with the opposition of the incumbent government.

        With all eyes on Burundi, the good news appears to be that international action is likely in the face of future genocidal actions perpetrated by Nkurunziza’s government. Despite assurances that law-and-order may resurface, there are many that are very skeptical of a peaceful resolution, especially given the region’s turbulent history. The failed coup may have given Nkurunziza a blank check to commit atrocities in the lieu of capturing traitors, a frightening parallel to the shooting down of a plane that killed the Rwandan and Burundian presidents and gave the Rwandan government a loose justification on which to base their genocide. It is extremely essential that international bodies, such as the UN and African Union, and foreign governments to broker peace in a volatile setting fostered by colonialism and international inaction.

 

The Battle for Burundi

By Javan Latson

 

Twenty-one years ago, the world watched in horror as hundreds of thousands of Rwandans died over the span of about 100 days. This tremendous event showed the world what could happen when the international community waits too late to act. Now, years after the events of Rwanda we see another potentially gruesome conflict brewing in the neighboring nation of Rwanda. Will the international community not intervene as they did back then, or will they act now in order to stop a political uprising from becoming a destructive civil war?

Even with today’s heavy media attention on the Middle East, the conflict in Burundi is relatively uncovered. This landlocked East African nation is one of the poorest countries on earth, with a population of around 11 million, and a per capita GDP of $900. After a 12-year civil war, which resulted in the deaths of 300,000 people, the country has enjoyed a relative sense of peace. This is not the case now, as this small nation is on the verge of another civil war.

Tensions arose in April when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced that he was running for a third term. This caused the citizens of Burundi to protest what they viewed as unconstitutional and a violation of democracy that was guaranteed in the Arusha Agreement, which only allows two terms in office. Despite opposition from the people, members of the Burundian Constitutional Court were coerced by the government to rule that Nkurunziza could indeed run for reelection under the fear of death. Dissatisfied with the ruling, more than 500 protesters rallied in the suburb of Musaga to voice their opinions regarding the presidential campaign. In the month of May, following protests and demonstrations calling for Nkurunziza’s resignation, a group of military officers attempted a coup in order to depose the president, which failed miserably.

 Despite a lack of popular support, and calls by foreign leaders to concede power, President Nkurunziza won a third term in office with a whopping 73 percent of the vote. US Secretary of State John Kerry called the elections, “a deeply flawed electoral process marked by violence and a disregard for the civil and human rights of the citizens of Burundi”.  In spite of the added foreign pressure, the President shows no signs of budging, and the harsh words of the international community have not been enough to sway him into respecting the Arusha Agreement.

The country has descended into lawlessness as renegade groups such as the Imbonerakure terrorize civilians. The Imbonerakure is a non-governmental youth militia that operates under the implicit approval of Nkurunziza’s CNDD-FDD (National Council for the Defense of Democracy—Forces for the Defense of Democracy) party. They act as an extension of governmental power, to force people to accept the president’s third term and to quell opposition. The group, which is predominantly Hutu, (the majority ethnic group in Burundi) has been accused of surrounding a Tutsi (a minority ethnic group) refugee camp on May 15th and threatening to kill refugees. They also face accusations of making unlawful arrests, handing people over to intelligence agents, torture, and beating civilians. The increasing hostility towards the country’s minorities from Imbonerakure has caused many to flee the country.

Over the past few weeks, police and military crackdowns against protesters and opposition groups have expanded. On December 11th 87 rebels were killed in the capital city of Bujumbura during an attack against military bases in the area. Col. Gaspard Baratuza of the Burundian military said that the attack was an attempt to stock up on weapons and ammunition and that “The army has defeated them seriously”. Following the attack there were reports of bodies (mainly of young civilians) found on the streets of residential neighborhoods in what appeared to be an act of retaliation against areas suspected of harboring rebels. Many of the bodies had bullet wounds in the head, and one was found tied up with eyewitnesses saying that the victims were pulled out their homes and executed by police.  The crackdown has created a state of tension in the country and has been condemned by international human rights watches.

Fed up with the abuse of power by the government, extrajudicial killings, and human rights violations, citizens have formed an organization to topple President Nkurunziza.  These rebels united to form a resistance called Forebu (Les Forces Republicaines du Burundi). The group’s goal, as stated by colonel turned rebel Edward Nshimirimana, is to “drive out Nkurunziza by force and restore the Arusha accord and democracy”. The government can no longer deny the existence of uniformed rebellion or even widespread dissatisfaction in the country.  During this period of civil unrest, the government claimed the constant firefights were the results of individual criminals and insurgents. Forebu is a physical manifestation of the sentiments of the Burundian people and refutes the government’s idea that there is not a unified uprising-taking place in the country. With a public face, the rebel movement has a greater chance at a full-blown war than as a political uprising.

The ongoing violence in Burundi has concerned many nations including the US. The State Department issued a travel warning in December 2015 recommending that all US citizens evacuate the country.  The African Union even offered to send in peacekeepers to quell the violence, but the Burundian government refused, claiming that they will attack any AU troop that sets foot in the country without permission. Burundi is a sovereign nation and has the right to determine whether or not foreign soldiers are allowed within its borders, leaving the African community in a quagmire. Following Nkrunziza’s decision to seek a third term in April, more than 200,000 people have fled the country with more than half of them being 17 years old or younger. Many of these refugees have fled to Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which are developing nations faced with significant internal problems of their own.  Some of these refugee camps, like Nyargusu in Tanzania, which has 150,000 people, are extremely overcrowded and lack the resources to take care of such a large population as a result. There are reports of Burundians in Rwandan refugee camps being forcibly recruited by military groups such as the National Forces of Liberation rebels and the Imbograburundi. These groups train them, and send them back to Burundi via the Democratic Republic of Congo to fight against the government in a blatant violation of UNHCR regulations.  

The possibility of another devastating war, along with an escalating refugee crisis cannot continue go unnoticed. However, many of the big players at the UN such as Russia, the UK, and the US seem uninterested in the plight of the small African nation. While this may not be genocide per se such as Rwanda or Darfur, the likelihood that this can become a war where thousands are killed and more are displaced is quite high. While some express optimism about the experience that the international community had in ending East African conflicts such as the recent Kivu Conflict in the Congo, others are justifiably pessimistic about the international response, given the world’s history of inaction towards African genocides.

Massacre in Zaria Sparks Tensions

By Issie Sargraves

Stories of violence by ISIS and its affiliates are splashed across the international media, demonizing Islamic movements around the world and painting them as radical and violent. This, however, results in the media ignoring massacres against moderate muslim groups worldwide. One such minimally reported event was the extreme violence against the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) that occurred in Zaria, Nigeria this December, in which hundreds of civilians were killed and many more were injured when the Nigerian Army fired on the IMN community in retaliation for protests.

 

Ibrahim Zakzaky founded the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) in the early 1980s. Its creation introduced Shia Islam to Nigeria, although the movement is comprised of both Sunni and Shiite Muslims. It is a nonviolent organization, and therefore is not affiliated with the extremely violent Nigerian group, Boko Haram. The IMN is primarily located in northern Nigeria, with most of its activities taking place in Zaria – the city in which the December 12th massacre took place. Although the organization is non-violent, they champion views Nigeria’s government opposes, and so the Nigerian Army does not agree with them. The IMN’s support for Palestine, opposition to Zionism, and denunciation of Israel are key issues that have motivated their peaceful demonstrations and have caused a rift between them and the government.

 

On December 12, 2015, members of the IMN began to fill the roads of Zaria in a pro-Palestinian protest. However, it is unclear as to what exactly happened, as both the army and the IMN have differing accounts of the day’s events. From the perspective of the army, the massacre was an act of self-defense prompted by violent protesters. The Nigerian Army claimed in a statement, “The sect numbering hundreds carrying dangerous weapons, barricaded the roads with bonfires, heavy stones and tires. They refused all entreaties to disperse and then started firing and pelting the convoy with dangerous objects.” The soldiers were described as having “no choice” in their defense of the convoy. The IMN has a vastly different view of the day: in the IMN press release, the actions of the Army were described as “cold-blooded,” and pointed to the fact that “women and children were not spared.” The IMN also chooses to highlight that “the murdering does not end with the destruction of centers and killing of people at Sunday as the Army are still condoning stop and search at all routes within and outside Zaria identifying the members of the movement and killing in cold blood.”  This killing of innocents and continued deliberate targeting paint the day in a vastly different light, one in which the Army’s killing of civilians was uncalled-for and unjust. What is clear about December 12th is that somewhere between 200 and 1,000 men, women, and children, all members of the IMN, were killed by the Nigerian Army in either an extreme defensive act or a ruthless massacre. In addition, IMN founder Ibrahim Zakzaky has been injured and arrested, and members of his family were killed.

 

In the aftermath of this tragedy, Muhammadu Buhari, the president of Nigeria, has made the controversial decision to wait for the official county investigation report before he continues with any action. This is problematic because the Kaduna State Government is widely known as being a supporter of the Army in the county, and is therefore likely to be biased against the IMN. Because of this, various human rights organizations have called for an impartial investigation into the events in Zaria. M.K. Ibrahim, Amnesty International’s Nigerian director, stated “An impartial investigation is urgently needed into these killings. While the final death toll is unclear, there is no doubt that there has been a substantial loss of life at the hands of the military.” Daniel Bekele, the Executive Director of the African division of Human Rights Watch, openly criticized the Nigerian Army. “It is almost impossible to see how a roadblock by angry young men could justify the killings of hundreds of people,” Bekele said. “At best it was a brutal overreaction and at worst it was a planned attack on the minority Shia group.”

 

This massacre did not occur in a vacuum free from conflict: Nigeria has been experiencing numerous clashes between the government and small Shi’ite independent groups. Boko Haram has influenced governmental policy in Nigeria. The organization, a violent terrorist group linked to ISIS, has been running rampant throughout the nation for a decade. The army has therefore been trained to react quickly and decisively to perceived terror threats. Whether or not the protest in Zaria could have been misconstrued as one such threat is still up for debate; however, the climate is clearly one of violence and retaliation.
The massacre of the IMN at Zaria could have disastrous consequences for Muslim relations in Nigeria. With groups like Boko Haram (and, by extension, ISIS) courting potential recruits, unnecessary and unpunished violence against the IMN could create feelings of alienation among members and could prompt some of these Shiites to join extremist organizations. As Abubakar, president of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs so aptly said, “The history of the circumstances that engendered the outbreak of militant insurgency in the past, with cataclysmic consequences that Nigeria is yet to recover from, should not be allowed to repeat itself.” What Abubakar is referring to is the re-emergence of Boko Haram as a vastly more violent (and popular) group after security forces attacked their mosque and compound in 2009, killing 900 people. History must not be allowed to repeat itself, especially in the unstable environment in Nigeria. If massacres against non-radical Muslim groups persist, without reaction by the current Nigerian government, it could result in radicalization and polarization in the future.