NIGERIA/ Archbishop: the government does not defend us because it is afraid of terrorists
"The federal government of Nigeria, the secret service and Muslim leaders do nothing to defend the Christians and do not even dare to condemn the attacks. The Boko Haram terrorists do not treat with anybody and are ready to hit anyone who tries to oppose them, and so even the judges, when they by chance get their hands on a terrorist, they release the terrorist right away because they are afraid". This is the statement by Monsignor Ignatius Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos, a city hit by attacks against churches that have bloodied Christmas in Nigeria. Interviewed by Ilsussidiario.net, he says that "last Christmas the churches of my archdiocese had been hit by another severe attack. Christians truly understand the risks they face by going to Mass, but do not stop because they know that, when you are afraid, you are already dead, even if no one shoots you. So it is better to have faith, because the Lord is our strength. This is the certainty that all Nigerian Christians show by going to church despite the risk of attacks".
Who is behind the attacks against Christians?
It was an action by fanatical groups, called the Boko Haram and connected with al-Qaeda. Their goal is the destruction of everything that represents Western civilization. Boko Haram means "Western education is sacrilege." To them, the Christian religion is something that comes from the West, and therefore is not allowed. The Islamist group considers even the Nigerian Constitution as a product of Western civilization, and would like to replace it with the Sharia. Thus, the Boko Haram is characterized by the most radical fanaticism. The normal Muslims deeply disapprove of its actions, also because the attacks do not hit only the churches, but also the police barracks and the United Nations headquarters in Abuja.
Will Christians find the strength not to retaliate?
We Nigerian bishops always preach to all the faithful that Christ must be the center of our lives. Therefore, we must imitate his example. When your house has been burned, your brother, your sister or your parents have been killed, your church has been destroyed, it is very difficult to practice forgiveness and charity. But that is what we continue to preach all the time. Most Christians will listen to us, putting aside all desire for revenge, but unfortunately, this does not exclude the possibility of reprisals by the small radical groups that exist even among Christians, and who want to make justice on their own. These people, who do exist, are not endorsed by the Church in the least.
After the attacks a year ago, was what happened at Christmas to be expected?