Author Topic: 'Religion of peace' followers torch Christian churches  (Read 2110 times)

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Offline Shlomo

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'Religion of peace' followers torch Christian churches
« on: September 24, 2006, 09:22:34 PM »
'Religion of peace' followers torch Christian churches
Posted: September 23, 2006 © 2006

Hundreds seek refuge as mobs riot over alleged 'insult' to Muhammad

Nearly a dozen Christian churches have been burned and hundreds of people forced to seek refuge in a police station by Muslims who rioted through the Nigerian city of Dutse, and they blamed their actions on a "comment" made by a Christian woman.

According to a Reuters report, authorities in the city imposed a night curfew this week to try to quell the violence allegedly triggered by a statement by a woman that Muslims said was a blasphemy to Mohammad.

Scores of houses and shops owned by Christians also were burned in the Jigawa state capital city, police spokesman Haz Iwendi reported. There also were some injuries, but no fatalities, he said.

"Eleven churches and so many houses and shops were burned," he told Reuters. "The house of the Anglican bishop also was ransacked."

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Another report from Africa News quoted police spokesman Kieran Dudari as saying the situation was "unfortunate."

The Christian aid organization Barnabas Fund said the conflagration destroyed two-thirds of all Christian churches in the area, including St. Peter's Anglican Cathedral, and there were reports that the state's governor himself was attacked when he tried to calm the mob.

Hundreds of heavily armed police officers were called in to patrol the city, eventually providing some calm amidst the ashes, the organization said.

The Barnabas Fund noted Muslims already were in an uproar worldwide because of a recent comment from the pope where he cited a historic document that describes Islam as violent.

"There have been attacks against Christians in the Palestinian territories, Somalia and Iraq," the group said.

"There have also been many verbal protests. The Islamic cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a so-called moderate who had justified violence in the past, called for 22nd September to be a 'day of rational anger' across the world and warned Muslims not to attack churches," the Fund said. "Sadly his warning against violence does not seem to have been heeded."

Al-Qaida in Iraq has publicly threatened Christians, saying, "We will destroy the cross … then all that will be accepted will be conversion or the sword. May God enable us to slit their throats, and make their money and descendants the bounty of the mujahideen," according to the Fund.

"Muslims are always saying that Islam is a religion of peace," said Fund International Director Patrick Sookhdeo. "But many Christians in the Muslim world know differently. For them, Islam has been and remains a religion which metes out violence."

The organization said it is launching an online drive to raise funds for the victims of the violence, as well as the eventual reconstruction of the burned church facilities.

Joseph Hayab, of the Christian Association of Nigeria, told Reuters that the woman's comment was a tit-for-tat remark after a derogatory comment was made about Christianity.

"Her comment was in retaliation to uncomplimentary remarks made by her colleague about Jesus," he told the news service. The woman was detained briefly by police, then released, and that's what triggered the rioting, he said.

According to a report, more than 1,000 Dutse residents remained camped in an open field at state police headquarters a day later, too terrified to return to their homes.

The comments from the pope that have left the Muslim world calling either for his death or his conversion to Islam came as he quoted 14th-century Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus.

"He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached," the pope quoted, according to a CNN report.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference said that statement shows a "deep ignorance" of Islam.

The pope apologized that people were offended by his quotation, but he stopped short of denying its truthfulness.
"In the final analysis, for the believer there are no questions, and for the non-believer there are no answers." -Chofetz Chaim