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

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week 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.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid