AFRICA/NIGERIA - Cardinal Onaiyekan: "For 20 years we have been witnessing the growth of religious fanaticism that fuels violence"

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - The religiously motivated violence in Nigeria comes from afar, said Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, in his speech at the Faculty of Law, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State.
"Some two decades or so ago, a negative development started to be witnessed by our people with regards to religious harmony", he said. "We began to see a rise in strict fanaticism, where people held so tightly to their own faith that they declared that they are the only ones acceptable to God. This leads to a total rejection of whoever does not follow their own line".
The Cardinal noted that the fanatics, (Muslims, but also Christians), on both sides of the divide attribute their actions or beliefs to some passages in the Holy Bible and Holy Quran. "We have seen - adds the Cardinal - extremism easily move from violence to physical violence. Riots and murderous conflicts are a natural development from exclusivist fanatical rejection of the other. The anomaly of the Boko Haram is a clear case".
For this reason Cardinal Onaiyekan states that "it is clear now that it is not enough to condemn the violent activities of terrorists who kill and maim. We must also address the grave danger posed by those who preach rejection of other faiths, whether in their Mosques or in their Churches". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 20/01/2016)