Christian group pleads end to religious violence, injustice

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The Christian Social Movement of Nigeria (CSMN) has called on the government at all levels, and well-meaning Nigerians to bring an end to religious violence and other forms of insecurity.

The group made this call in a virtual webinar to mark the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the day is marked in order to condemn violence and acts of terrorism targeting persons belonging to minorities on the basis of or in the name of religion or belief.

Speaking at the webinar, themed: “Unfolding Genocide In Nigeria”, Baroness Caroline Cox, a member of the British House of Lords, said that the killings of Nigerians on the basis of faith, was worrisome.

Cox, who had been involved in humanitarian works in Nigeria, said she had heard directly from victims of incessant attacks, the pathetic ways their families were destroyed.

“Thousands of Nigerians are being killed by Boko Haram and other groups.

“These stories being circulated every time are very disheartening and no one should have to go through such.

“Those of us, who live in peace and freedom, should not let this continue to happen,’’ she said.

Similarly, Henry Jones, President, International Christian Foundation for Democracy (ICFD), USA, said that Christians around the world would continue to pray and work for justice for victims of religious violence.

“Everyone has a right to freedom of religion or belief.

“We are all brothers, irrespective of our religion and rivers of innocent blood are crying out for help and justice,’’ he said.

Ewelina Ochab, a human rights advocate, said that there was a need to ensure justice for families and victims of acts of religious violence.

Ochab, who is the co-founder of the Coalition for Genocide Response, also works with specific focus on persecution of religious minorities around the world.

Her advocacy led to the United Nations resolution approving the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief.

According to her, impunity from justice must be addressed as a matter of urgency.

“Nigeria has been haunted by acts of violence for many years and to ensure justice for victims, formal investigation should be carried out by the office of the prosecutor.

“We need to ensure the domestic courts have the capacity to handle these issues because justice means nothing if we let these atrocities continue,’’ Ochab said.

Also speaking, Sylvester Mbamali, a member of CSMN and moderator of the virtual webinar, said that the greatest liberty in life was the liberty of the mind and freedom of belief.

Charging governments to take action, Mbamali said “the essence of government is to protect lives and eliminate all forms of violence.

“The deliberate destruction of a particular group of people is uncalled for.

“We are delighted that there are people listening and asking how we can save the lives that are going to waste,’’ he said.

While narrating her experience of religious injustice, Mrs Mercy Solomon-Tarfa, founder, Du Merci Orphanage, Kano, encouraged Christians not to lose faith because of their sufferings.

“Let’s recognise the presence of genocide in Nigeria and ask God to grant us the grace to handle what’s happening.

“I urge victims to forgive and keep praying because we do not wrestle against flesh and blood.

“If our focus is aligned with God, we will win this battle,’’ Solomon-Tarfa said. (NAN)

– Aug. 23, 2020 @ 14:59 GMT |

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