Iaşi (Agenzia Fides) - Catholics of African Countries where the threat of Islamic fundamentalism is stronger, live this phenomenon with apprehension, but do not intend to surrender to violence. This is what is reported in an interview with two African representatives at the International Forum of Catholic Action (IFCA), which was held in Iasi (Romania) from August 22 to 26.
"Catholics in Nigeria are not intimidated by the attacks in some churches – says Don Patrick Alumuku, responsible for the Communications of the Diocese of Abuja -. Groups of faithful, together with the police, organized a security cordon around the buildings of worship for the celebration." "This - adds Don Alumuku - is the only form of defense that we intend to put in practice: our Archbishop, Mgr. John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan said very clearly that a violent response to violence would not give a solution to the problems but would rather be the source of a war that never ends." The phenomenon of attacks on churches, in fact, should be understood properly: "Islam is not against Christianity, but terrorist attacks against the government, to the point that Muslim leaders have disassociated themselves from these episodes.
Any temptation to retaliate - concludes Don Alumuku - besides being contrary to evangelical meekness, might also affect those who are defending us."
"There is apprehension – warns Fr. Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Catholic Church in Egypt - towards the concrete possibility for Christians to live religious freedom in a fundamentalist context, after the recent political changes have brought to power a party linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Egyptian President - continues Fr. Greïche - is offering reassurance to all religious minorities, but no one can guarantee the future." In the Country there are seven schools run by the Catholic Church and several hospitals and charitable institutions which, directing its activities to the poorest segments of the population, are frequented mostly by Muslims. The role of the laity is extremely important, "they find themselves to be at the forefront in the testimony of faith in everyday life, and in the context of the difficulties we are experiencing they really show great courage," concludes Fr. Greïche. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 27/08/2012)