Thursday, October 11, 2007
Nigeria flares in religious violence
Nigeria-The destruction from the religious riots in Nigeria's Kano State is still being assessed. The riots came late last month, the cause of which is slowly coming to light.Voice of the Martyrs Canada's Glenn Penner says it started when "a group of Muslim students barged into a room that was shared by some Christian students at a local secondary school. When the principal arrived on the scene, the Muslims said that these two fellows had drawn a picture of Mohammed on a local mosque and were now planning an attack on Muslim students."The situation continued to escalate, resulting in a riot which left at least nine Christians dead. More than 50 people were injured, and more than 500 members of the minority Christian population were displaced. Although it has not been front page news, the sectarian violence has never stopped. It was simply overshadowed by other crises.Penner explains that this latest event was the latest in a series of deadly religious clashes in Africa's most populous nation of 140 million, which is almost equally split between adherents of the two religions.Worse, it's unlikely the whole truth will ever be fully revealed about the riots. Authorities have removed all corpses in a likely attempt to obscure the true death toll. Local police have also sealed off the area and denied access to those seeking to provide assistance.Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports indicate that three pastors from the state capital were detained when they tried to evacuate members of their denomination. Three Christian members of the Nigerian Air Force who were accompanying them were also detained. The pastors have since been released on bail. The other three remain in custody.In all of this, there's a question of whether or not the violence quells evangelistic fervor.Penner says,"Nigerian Christians do continue to reach out and to spread the Gospel. Of course, there is concern and fear of violence, and Christians in the North are asking, 'Is it necessary for us to move to the south as well?'"Church leaders are urging people not to retaliate or inflame the situation further."Pray that they'll be able to teach and instill in their young men, particularly, how to respond to persecution in a Christ-like fashion."Pray that Christians will rely on the Holy Spirit to comfort, strengthen and embolden them in the aftermath of this brutal attack. Pray that those who have lost loved ones will find peace in the fact that those who suffer with Christ will be glorified with Him. Pray that the three detained believers will be released.
As in the days of Noah....