Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

8/23/2012 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Pray for our Christian brethren in Nigeria being terrorized by Jihadists.

What is happening to our brethren in Nigeria should be of profound concern to us. The threat of  Jihadism is not decreasing. If anything, it is increasing. The victims of this evil are being killed precisely because they are Christians. The blood of the martyrs is flowing more frequently these days as militant Islamic terrorism increases and establishes a new beachhead in Africa. For Catholics and other Christians, we cannot - we must not- fail to act. Africa is one of the great centers of the renewal of the Church in the Third Millennium.

Boko Harem members displaying their weapons

Boko Harem members displaying their weapons

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/23/2012 (1 year ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Jihad, Islam, Boko Harem, Nigeria, persecution, martyrdom, Communion and liberation, Bishop Ignatius Kaigama, Deacon Keith Fournier


RIMINI, Italy (Catholic Online) - One of the speakers at the 33d meeting at Rimini, held this week, was Ignatius Kaigama, the Archbishop of Jos and President of the Nigerian Episcopal Conference. The meeting is sponsored by the movement Communion and Liberation. The Archbishop gave a telephone interview to Lorenzo Margiotta which can be read in its entirety here. Among the topics discussed was the violence directed against Christians by a fundamentalist Jihadi movement called Boko Harem. Here is an excerpt:

Monsignor Kaigama, since the beginning of the year, there have been more than 600 people killed in the attacks in Nigeria. What are the reasons for this?

"These massacres are in great part caused by the fundamentalist Islamic group Boko Haram (literally meaning "Western education is forbidden"). They operate in the Northern part of Nigeria where all these acts of violence are occurring. It is a group that intends to replace the Constitution with Islamic law in order to forcefully convert the people to Islam. They initially began to attack the government, its institutions and security agencies, then initiated attacks on churches. They want to eliminate churches because they educate and promote culture."

What does the government do to guarantee security and protect the population? Boko Haram asked President Goodluck Jonathan, who is a Christian, to resign and convert to Islam.

"The violence by these groups is also fostered by the incapacity of the government to control the situation. Police and military forces do exist but up to now they have not been able to put an end to these massacres. Coordination between the different parties responsible for security is lacking. Churches are continuously under attack, in Kaduna, in Kano, in Jos, and we begin to feel abandoned, without any help. The attacks occur when we least expect it; many Christians are now afraid to go to mass and exercise their rights as Christians."

Nonetheless even Muslims have been under attack. Is it appropriate to speak about this situation as a war of religion?

"The reason for this conflict is mainly economical, fuelled by poverty and corruption. The fundamentalists of Boko Haram are very clear in their intentions: they want to kill government officials, security agents and Christians. They have no scruples to even kill Muslims who collaborate with the government and promote security. Terrorists have no respect for life - they kill others thus killing themselves. Their aim is to create confusion. We always try to make a distinction between the fanatic fundamentalist groups and ordinary Muslims because ordinary Muslims in Nigeria want to live in peace with their neighbours."

How do you believe it is possible to get out of this situation? Is there hope for an end to the violence?

"Ending violence is a responsibility of the government. As religious leaders we can only teach the people not to respond to violence with violence, but we cannot enforce the law in order to stop these diabolic people that attack Nigerians within the country. The federal government, however, does not seem capable of effectively countering terrorism: these attacks have been occurring since 2009 and up to now there has been no adequate response. Considering the situation, the population is increasingly afraid. We require definitive action against Boko Haram, which has substantial amounts of money, sophisticated arms at its disposal, great exposure on the Internet and close contact with journalists. If the government cannot handle this on its own they have to look for support outside in order to involve those who have the means to assist. The fundamentalists of Boko Haram can be defeated. I am worried by the fact that, up to this point, no one has been able to initiate a dialogue."

We regularly report on the evil acts of Boko Harem. The phrase "Boko Haram" means "Western education is forbidden" in the Hausa language. These Islamist terrorists hate all things western and Christian. They are Jihadists who intend to forcibly establish an Islamic Caliphate and impose Shariah Law. 

They are also called  al-Sunnah wal Jamma - or "Followers of the Prophet's Teachings". They refer to themselves officially as Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad, which means "people committed to the propagation of the prophet's teachings and Jihad". They are murderers and terrorists who use an appeal to religion to attempt to justify their evil.

I reported on the horrible bombing outside of St Theresa's Catholic Church on Christmas Day. That evil act, perpetrated by these Islamic terrorists who refer to themselves as the "Nigerian Taliban," was followed by an ultimatum issued to Christians in Northern Nigeria to leave in three days or face further violence.
 
After the Christmas bombings, a spokesman told a local newspaper called The Daily Trust, "There will never be peace, until our demands are met. We want all our brothers who have been incarcerated to be released; we want full implementation of the Sharia system and we want democracy and the constitution to be suspended."

Vatican Radio reported that Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos, the Vice President of the Nigerian Bishop's Conference, urged Nigerians to not to allow their country to be overtaken by terror: "Churches have been destroyed and lives were lost and there is no sign that this might end, until the government intervenes decisively."

"We continue to ask Christians to be vigilant and aware of the issue of safety when they go to church and even in their own homes. We have appealed that there be no retaliation and we continue to preach peace, hoping that all of us in Nigeria, Muslims and Christians, we will be able to work and live happily together. This is our position: no violence, no retaliation. We want to live in peace".

On the day after Christmas, the Feast of St Stephen the Deacon and Proto - Martyr, a visibly burdened Pope Benedict XVI spoke to the faithful gathered for the Angelus prayer. He spoke from his heart, urging prayers for those whose, "lands are drenched in innocent blood."

The Pope reminded the faithful that St Stephen gave his life for his Christian faith. He spoke of his heroic witness, noting that even as he was being stoned to death he prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit" and begged forgiveness for his accusers. He extolled the witness of the early martyrs of the Church, a topic which he has frequently addressed in the last few years.

Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office said in a statement: "Regretfully the attacks at the Church of Saint Theresa in Abuja, timed to coincide with Christmas Day celebrations, are once again the expression of the cruelty of blind and absurd hatred devoid of any respect for human life and represent an attempt to generate and fuel further hatred and confusion."

"We express our closeness to the suffering of the Church and of all the Nigerian people who have been affected by violent terrorism even during these days that should be of joy and peace," he added. "While we pray for the victims, we also express the hope that this senseless violence will not weaken the will for peaceful cohabitation and dialogue in the nation."

On the 4th Sunday of Easter, April 29, 2012, the faithful gathered for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass being offered at Kano's Bayero University. Evil Islamic jihadists used small explosives to draw the faithful out and then shot those who fled in cold blood.  All indications are it was Boko Harem.

The word "Martyr" derives from a Greek word which means "witness." The Catholic faith proclaims that the shedding of one's blood in fidelity to Jesus Christ is the final witness to the Faith. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that: "Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith: it means bearing witness even unto death. The martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity. He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine. He endures death through an act of fortitude" (CCC #2471 - 2473)

What is happening to our brethren in Nigeria should be of profound concern to us. The threat of  Jihadism is not decreasing. If anything, it is increasing. For someone who remembers the cold war, even to the point of drills where we hid under our desks, it calls to mind the great need for a National resolve.  It also makes the threat of militant Marxism look mild in comparison.

The victims of this evil are being killed precisely because they are Christians. The blood of the martyrs is flowing more frequently these days as militant Islamic terrorism increases and establishes a new beachhead in Africa. For Catholics and other Christians, we cannot - we must not- fail to act. Africa is one of the great centers of the renewal of the Church in the Third Millennium.

The words attributed to Tertullian in the Second Century of the Church still hold out their promise: "The blood of the Martyrs is the seed of the Church."  We are living in a new missionary age. Pray for our Christian brethren in Nigeria being terrorized by Jihadists.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More Africa

Flood of Syrian refugees into Algeria continues Watch

Image of  Syrians have come to rely on the compassion and warmth of the Algerian people - whose hospitality may have reached their limits.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

Syrian refugees have continued their flood into the nearby nation of Algeria. Now facing even worse persecution at the hands of the Islamic State, Syrians have come to rely on the compassion and warmth of the Algerian people - whose hospitality may have reached ... continue reading


Medical help short-handed in raging Ebola outbreak Watch

Image of More money and resources are desperately needed to improve local health systems.

By Alex Whiting, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Hospitals battling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa desperately need more staff, as local doctors leave their posts and foreign doctors are reluctant to come forward, medical experts said during an online debate on the disease. LONDON (Thomson Reuters ... continue reading


Human rights violations continue as Mali jails child soldiers Watch

Image of Child soldiers who were forced to fight in northern Mali after that region of the country turned to chaos back in 2012.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Amnesty International is reporting that Mali's government continues its practice of jailing children accused of having been members of armed rebel and extremist groups, and the government continues to commit human rights abuses. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


As the Ebola outbreak death toll rises, Britain puts out a plea to international researchers everywhere Watch

Image of The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has caused the deaths of more than 1,300 people, and currently seems beyond control even as experimental drugs are raced to the affected regions.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Wellcome Trust and the United kingdom's Department for International Development put out a plea for researchers around the world to help fight the Ebola outbreak which is ravaging West Africa, the largest outbreak of the deadly disease in history. LOS ... continue reading


DEATH TOLL SOARS UPWARD: Ebola deaths now into the thousands Watch

Image of Liberia has had the most deaths in a two-day period. The World Health Organization is working on getting food sent to areas hit hardest.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The death toll from Ebola, the incurable virus that sends the body into meltdown has soared past the one thousand mark in West Africa. The known death toll at this time stands at 1,200. Liberia has had the most deaths in a two-day period. The World Health ... continue reading


Riot forces Ebola infected patients to flee! Watch

Image of Aid workers carry the body of an Ebola victim, more than 1,000 have died of the virus.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Seventeen people, suspected to be infected with the Ebola virus, are missing in Liberia after a health center in the capital city of Monrovia was attacked, the Liberian government reported, disregarding their previous reports that no patients were missing, and ... continue reading


100 boys kidnapped by Nigerian terrorists to become child soldiers Watch

Image of An image of Boko Haram gunmen taken from a video filmed by the terrorist group.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fighters from the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram have reportedly abducted nearly 100 boys and men during a raid on a village in the country's northeast, witnesses reported. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Villagers who escaped the August 17 raid on Doron ... continue reading


NO EARLY END IN SIGHT: A million people directly affected by Ebola outbreak Watch

Image of The latest figures have recorded 128 new cases of Ebola virus disease, as well as 56 deaths.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Once confined to West Africa, the deadly Ebola virus now threatens every city on Earth with an international airport. The World Health Organization has given the world a most grim prognosis; there are currently one million people in the world today directly ... continue reading


Get out of Africa! U.S. tells embassy families to leave Ebola stricken regions Watch

Image of More than 1,000 people have died in the West Africa Ebola outbreak, history's worst outbreak ever recorded.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

United States officials have told the families of American diplomats in Sierra Leone to leave the country to avoid becoming infected by the deadly Ebola virus which is ravaging that country and other West African states. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "The ... continue reading


The Mummy Lives! Mummification practice much older than previously thought Watch

Image of Discovered in the more extravagant graves, the remains suggested that only the privileged people in this ancient society were preserved.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The phrase, as old as a mummy has taken on new significance with a recent scientific discovery. Researchers now believe that the ancient Egyptian practice of mummification may date back 1,500 years earlier than previously thought. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


All Africa News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ezekiel 43:1-7
1 He took me to the gate, the one facing ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14
9 His saving help is near for those who fear him, his ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 23:1-12
1 Then addressing the crowds and his disciples Jesus ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 23rd, 2014 Image

St. Philip Benizi
August 23: Servite cardinal and preacher. Born in Florence, Italy, to a ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter