Culture & Religion
June Mon 18, 2012
“Why do moderate Muslims not dissociate themselves from the fundamentalists who are attacking churches in Nigeria?”. This is the provocative question of Father Piero Gheddo after new attacks by the Boko Haram. Yesterday, five churches were bombed in the northern region of Kaduna, causing at least 12 deaths, including four children. The crowd, enraged also at the inability of the police to arrest the culprits, responded with a man-hunt of suspected terrorists, hunting them down and lynching them where they stood. According to Father Gheddo, “the Boko Haram are acting according to a specific ideology that is predominant in the extremist Muslim fringe, according to which, in response to the crisis in modernity produced by the Christian West, the only solution is to return to original Islam, interpreting the Sharia literally”.Father Gheddo, what strikes you most about yesterday’s massacre? We are facing a series of attacks that are planned, organized, and terrible in their precision. This violence is not born out of a period of chaos, but is a systematic attempt to scare away all non-Muslims from northern and central Nigeria. The Boko Haram wants to institute Sharia law and to apply it strictly. They have succeeded in 12 regions, but they cannot in the others because the central government does not allow it. That is why they are attempting to scare these Christians and send them away.Why does the government not intervene? Nigeria is a country that is rich in oil and the authorities have the money to organize a military response against the terrorists. Corruption, however, weakens the institutions so that they fail to provide answers. Keep in mind that 150 million people live in Nigeria. It is not a small country like Guinea Bissau. It is a mass of people that cannot be completely controlled. Also, the Muslim world itself does not move a finger.What can be done against the madness of the Boko Haram? At least, people should not stay silent. Where are the moderate Muslims? In Italy there are almost two million organized Muslims. Faced with a planned tragedy like the one from the beginning of the year that caused 600 deaths among Nigerian Christians, how can one not protest? All it would take would be a letter to the newspapers to dissociate themselves, a fatwa, or an official condemnation.Who should do this?
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