Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Nigerian archbishop urges Christians to defend themselves

A Catholic archbishop said Wednesday that Christians were "tired of turning the other cheek" to Muslim attacks and blamed the government for deadly sectarian riots after a newspaper article about the Miss World (news - web sites) beauty pageant. "No group of people should be allowed to invade the city of Abuja and molest law-abiding citizens," said the Rev. John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Archbishop in Nigeria's capital, Abuja. Onaiyekan spoke at a news conference called by the Council of Nigerian Churches and accused President Olusegun Obasanjo's government of failing to protect Christians during the riots. "We blame the government because we rely on the government to protect us," he said. The archbishop said Christians shouldn't hesitate to defend themselves from further attacks. "It is a Christian duty to protect yourselves," he said. Senior clergy from the Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran and other churches also criticized the government, arguing that Christians had taken the brunt of the violence.

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