Nigerian Prelate: This Conflict Is Not a Christian-Muslim War

Archbishop Kaigama Speaks on Violence in African Nation

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RIMINI, Italy, AUG. 20, 2012 (Zenit.org).- In an interview with Vatican Radio, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos, Nigeria, spoke of the current situation of violence in the African nation. Archbishop Kaigama is in Italy for the Rimini Meeting, sponsored by the lay movement Communion and Liberation. 

This year’s meeting has the theme of "By Nature, Man is Relation to the Infinite." It has featured leaders in religion, politics, and culture who discussed issues of the day. 

Speaking on the recent violent outbreaks, the African prelate told Vatican Radio that "there is no neat division between political problems and religious problems. They are intertwined." 

Boko Haram, an Islamic fundamentalist group, have claimed responsibilities for several attacks in Nigeria specifically targeting Christians. Archbishop Kaigama made clear in the interview that it would be erroneous to view the crisis as a clash among religions. "Religion does a lot of good, we shouldn’t see it as always generating crisis," he said. 

"There are social issues, economic-political issues, problems of young people that often trigger these crises, but somehow eventually they always become Christian-Muslim crises. I always insist we should make a separation, a distinction. Yes, there are religious interests, but they are not responsible for all the crises."

The archbishop of Jos admitted that while there are religious problems that arise in the African nation, the current conflict is not a war between Christians and Muslims. "The Boko Haram is at war with Christians, because they have vowed they will kill Christians because they are infidels. This is a fact, but it is not the whole Islamic community," he said.