The evil, despicable massacre in Nigeria of some 500 Christian men, women and children has excited remarkably little international comment. This despite the fact that three villages were attacked near Jos by Muslim gangs who trapped women, children and the elderly — those who couldn’t run fast enough to escape — then cut them to pieces.Nigeria is home to the largest Anglican province in the world. The Diocese of Jos has posted images of the slaughter on its website. WARNING: Graphic content.
Archbishop Ben Kwashi described the scenes: “I could see kids from age zero to teenagers, all butchered from the back, macheted in their necks, their heads. Deep cuts in the mouths of babies. The stench. People wailing and crying.” Times (‘500 butchered in Nigeria killing fields’, Tuesday March 9, 2010) entire families were killed to the chants of ‘Allahu Akbar’. Muslim inhabitants of the villages were evacuated before the attackers came in an area which is under a military curfew. Archbishop Kwashi believed a powerful, well-connected grouping must have been responsible. Where are the statements from the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Pope in condemning this violence that has been meted out to Christian communities in Nigeria time and time again? Similarly mealy-mouthed has been the media describing such events as ‘inter- community is equally responsible for the aggression. Yet there is no equivalence, the vast number of lives claimed over the years have been Christian. Churches have been attacked repeatedly and the triumphant killing slogan ‘God is Greatest’ (‘Allahu Akbar’) has brought shame upon Islam repeatedly.
Christians in the West, and the leadership of Church in particular, have expressed so little concern. All of our major interfaith dialogues have continued as though blithely unaware of these realities over the years. And it is striking that the same Muslim leadership we dialogue with is intimately concerned with the plight of Muslims in Palestine and Kosovo conscious of the wider community of Islam — the Umma. Despite this international consciousness they are all too reluctant to take any responsibility for stains on Islam’s honour.
And the character of Christian timidity is even more striking against this backdrop. We too have an international faith, and possess ecclesiologies of a universal, worldwide nature yet our leaders neglect Christian minorities else- where. On Premier Radio last year Sheikh Dr Muhammad al-Hussaini, a lecturer at Leo Beck Rabbinical College, blamed churches in the West for barely uttering a whimper about the persecution of Christians in Muslim-majority countries. He called on church leaders to be a voice for persecuted minorities. To be encouraged to do this by a Muslim leader is a back-to-front state of affairs. The way to encourage a moderate Islam — some- thing the vast majority of Muslims want and desire — is to challenge hypocrisy, extremism, and evil wherever we see it.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Andrew Carey: Where is the outrage?
As Christians are slaughtered by Muslim fanatics in Nigeria, the world remains strangely silent. Andrew Carey wants to know why.