News / Africa

Pastor Blames Islamic Extremism for Nigeria Violence

A police officer stands guard outside the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Nigeria's capital Abuja, June 24, 2012, after tit-for-tat attacks between Muslims and Christians in Kaduna, sparked by suicide bombings blamed on Islamist sect Boko Haram.A police officer stands guard outside the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Nigeria's capital Abuja, June 24, 2012, after tit-for-tat attacks between Muslims and Christians in Kaduna, sparked by suicide bombings blamed on Islamist sect Boko Haram.
x
A police officer stands guard outside the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Nigeria's capital Abuja, June 24, 2012, after tit-for-tat attacks between Muslims and Christians in Kaduna, sparked by suicide bombings blamed on Islamist sect Boko Haram.
A police officer stands guard outside the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Nigeria's capital Abuja, June 24, 2012, after tit-for-tat attacks between Muslims and Christians in Kaduna, sparked by suicide bombings blamed on Islamist sect Boko Haram.
Peter Clottey
The president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) blames growing insecurity in his country on Islamic extremists who he said aim to create an Islamic state.

Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor made his comments at a hearing of U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, Sub-committee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights. He called on the United States to declare violent Islamic sect Boko Haram as a terrorist organization.

“There are certain Muslim extremists who believe that Nigeria must be an Islamic nation [and] Boko Haram is the body that is fronting for this group of persons… [Nigeria] has a very well divided population among the two major religions, so it’s not possible to Islamize Nigeria,” said Oritsejafor.

He denied Christians in Nigeria have ever been the aggressors towards other religious groups.

But some observers have sharply criticized religious leaders for failing to find ways of resolving the ongoing violence by the Islamic sect.

Oritsejafor said Christian leaders are working with their counterparts to find a solution to the problem. He called on Muslim leaders to do more than condemn the violence.

"It is important for us to know that the brain behind Boko Haram is an ideology… which comes from clerics. These teachers that promote the ideology of Boko Haram happen to be Islamic teachers and clerics,” said Oritsejafor.

"What we are saying to our Muslim leader friends in the north is for them to reach out to these clerics to help convince these young men that it’s not possible to Islamize Nigeria,” he added.

Some Christians in Nigeria’s south have expressed concern that Pastor Oritsejafor’s comments could generate a backlash from the group. But the CAN leader said it would be a show of weakness if Christians fail to speak up against violence. 

“It will be cowardice and it will be totally wrong for us to just be quiet and say being quiet and silent will protect Christians. Anybody who thinks that way definitely is wrong. We must speak out,” said Oritsejafor.

"What I can do as leader of Christians all over Nigeria is to speak out on their behalf, and that is exactly what I’m doing,” he said.

Boko Haram, which translates in the local Hausa language as “Western education is sacrilegious,”  claims it is fighting to impose strict Islamic Sharia law and does not recognize Nigeria’s constitution.       
                         
Oritsejafor said a majority of Christians have faced the brunt of Boko Haram’s violence.

"There is ethnic religious cleansing taking place; gradually it is happening, and we are looking at it. We expect the international community to join us to speak out,” said Oritsejafor.

He said efforts by Nigeria’s government to end the ongoing violence perpetrated by the Islamic sect has not been adequate.

"I will tell you their best is not good enough because… allowing churches to be burned and Christians shot at every Sunday for the last month, I don’t think that best is best. I think more should be done.”

Clottey interv with Ayo Oritsejafor, President of the Christian Association of Nigeria
Clottey interv with Ayo Oritsejafor, President of the Christian Association of Nigeria i
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid