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

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora