AFRICA/NIGERIA-"There is concern about possible violent reactions to the killing of Bin Laden" says Bishop of Kano to Fides

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Kano (Agenzia Fides) - "There is concern that the death of Bin Laden is likely to cause violence in Kano. We do not know what could happen,” says Archbishop John Namazi Niyiring, Bishop of Kano, in the north of Nigeria to Fides. "Muslims of northern Nigeria are particularly sensitive to what happens in the rest of the world, it is enough to recall the incidents that erupted following the publication of Danish cartoons considered blasphemous against the Prophet Mohammed" underlines Bishop Niyiring.
In recent days the tension has risen in Kano because of the violence that followed the presidential elections of April 16, won by outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan. "On 18 April, while the counting of votes showed the almost certain re-election of Jonathan, a crowd of young people, disappointed by the result, attacked the homes of some important leading politicians and other buildings of the Church - said the Bishop of Kano -. Hundreds of youths set fire to four churches (St. Mary's in Kano, St.Therese`s in Hadejia, St.Mary's in Rahama Rawuni, St'Augustine`s in Zango), a Catholic primary school in Hadejia, a missionary station and other buildings of the Catholic Church. Other Christian denominations have been attacked too. "
"These acts are probably inspired by some politicians who use religion as a weapon of propaganda - the bishop continues -. Nigeria is a pluralistic Country where there are different faiths and communities. Catholics and Christians in general, just want a state that guarantees all the full right to religious freedom, in safety and peace. "
On the assumption that recent events in Kano could be in the hands of the sect "Boko Haram," the Bishop replies: "It cannot be excluded, although the presence of this sect in Kano is less visible than in Maiduguri and other areas of northern Nigeria. Boko Haram (which can be translated as " Western education is forbidden") is against democracy, against the Nigerian Constitution, against the government and, more generally, against the western culture and education. Its members have targeted not only Christians but members of the state and Muslims who do not think like them. "
"To resolve these tensions I hope, even in Kano, for the establishment of Nigeria's Inter-religious Council (NIREC), a forum for dialogue that brings together religious leaders, Christians and Muslims to promote peace and interfaith dialogue. The NIREC exists at a federal level and the central government hopes that all Member States of the Federation establish such an organism. In our state, however, it must still be established,” concluded Bishop Niyiring. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 04/05/2011)