The Honorable Pat Toomey
248 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator Toomey,
Thank you for your reply to my letter. I’m very glad to know that this situation weighs on your mind like it does mine. I’m also glad for the action you’ve already taken in regards to the girls who were kidnapped. As you know, the violence in Nigeria has effected many. Certainly, those girls are some of the most unfortunate victims of the violence, but there are many other victims.
I hope you will take into account the remarkable actions and story of the Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN), the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, as you continue to think about and shape how the United States should respond to this situation. Many of those kidnapped girls (about three-fourths) belong to the EYN, and many EYN members have died or have been displaced by the many other violent actions taken by Boko Haram.
Through all of this, the EYN has remained firm in its commitment to pursing nonviolent solutions. As part of a historic peace church, the EYN understand that they must be a beacon of Christ’s love to a landscape darkened by violence. As you know, local faith leaders play a huge role in international development. The EYN are making investments in the kind of human security that will allow for the sustainable restoration of community in Nigeria and will undermine Boko Haram’s ability to recruit and propagandize.
I think we can both agree that neither of us want the expenses of even more US military action abroad. However, we will also both agree that widespread violence focused on any one religious group by terrorists cannot be ignored.
As you shape your foreign policy around this issue, consider orienting yourself to the EYN. There are many Brethren and anabaptists in Pennsylvania who care very personally about the EYN. The EYN represent the possibility of peace in Nigeria, but they need our partnership to make their investments in community and human security as effective as possible.
Since I last wrote to you, the situation in Nigeria has grown far more dire, particularly for the EYN. Since the girls from Chibok were kidnapped, many more Nigerians have died or fled because of Boko Haram. Continue to keep this situation in your thoughts, prayers, and decisions, and consider partnering with the existing efforts of the EYN.
With thanks and the love of Christ,
Carnegie Mellon University SMC# 2046
Pittsburgh, PA 15289