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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs