Life on the land of controversies

28 February 2020
JOHN ONAIYEKAN: Both the faithful Muslims and the Christians desire peace and a life together

Nigeria has to cope not only with economic difficulties but with the terrorism as well. Mohamed Jusuf appeared as a spiritual leader, a preacher, later on in 2002 who founded the Boko Haram, an Islamic fundamentalist terrorist organization which massaced more than 5000 civilians between 2009 and 2014, while forced 650 thousands of people to flee.

Their primary goal was to eliminate the corruption and the injustice, as well as to institute the Islamic law by establishing an Islamic state. Members of the organisation swore revenge against the security forces, blaming them for the death of Mohamed Jusuf and many of their fellows. Very often they attack police stations, members and buildings of uniformed and security bodies. Boko Haram received financial support from the infamous Al-Kaida, and its members pledged loyalty to the Islamic State. Their actions have never been denied, they openly acknowledge that priests were kidnapped and killed by them, that they were the ones beheading a bride and her bridesmaid in the middle of the street in full view of everyone around, and that in 2014 hundreds of boarding school girls were kidnapped. They also assumed responsibility for most of the terrorist attacks in the northern part of Nigeria.

Nevertheless Cardinal John Onaiyekan, the first Archbishop of Abuja strongly counsels us not to simplify it to a Muslim – Christian conflict. He underlined that brutality is very far from both the Muslims and the Christians, and even from any other members of religions, but all those acting in the name of hate, are the least able to know what belief really means.

Islamic fanatics consider all religion an enemy, while the faithful Muslims and Christians desire peace and life together – said the Cardinal. The victims are both Christians and Muslims, and each exploded bomb has not only a terrible physical effect on spot, but poisons the society, on top strengthens the negative view on the Christian – Muslim conflict. This could be extremely dangerous, degenerate into fatal, thus we should all work hard on opening a dialogue.

John Onaiyekan calls everyone for peace and cooperation, a mission being extremely important for all of us:

„Should you be a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Catholic, there is no other place to live, but here on the earth. The climate change is a typical example showing that every man and women in the world, regardless of gender and of religion should hold hands to make the world a better place. This is true not just in case of the climate change but in improving the human relationships as well. In the history of mankind many wars were seen, but finally we have to reach the point when a solutions should be found to decrease, even to finally stop wars, since they cause pain and suffering only.”

Acceptance is the only way that leads to peace:

„We all should do our best to preserve the principle. The principle of religious freedom: everyone has the right to worship God on his own way. (…) This means that the rights of the religious minorities should be fully recognised. Otherwise there is no way to live in peace. Moreover, we should unanimously define the relationship between the Church and the politics. Experience shows that wherever the Church and politics are mixed up or confused, the infamy of politics stains the beauty of religion.”

In his keynote speech delivered to the 2016 International Eucharistic Congress, he drew attention to separated feature of the Congress. The Congress should not be „international” only but needs to be open socially as well, regardless to anyone’s social status.

Moreover he stands up for the Church’s principal articles of faith: „in a world where moral is sinking deeper and deeper, and losing its value, the Church of God cannot afford the responsibility to ignore the high standards of Jesus Christ’s gospel – said Cardinal Onaiyekan.

His speech will be presented on the Hungexpo.