Tuesday, 7 February 2012

General Synod: Emergency debate on violence in Nigeria

There is a change to the agenda for Wednesday morning. See GS 1861 which contains a background briefing note by the Bishop of Durham, Justin Welby.

Recent violence in Nigeria
In view of the recent serious violence in Nigeria the Bishop of Durham travelled to the country at short notice on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury to meet members of the Anglican Church in Nigeria and others caught up in the deteriorating situation there.

Following the Bishop’s return we have decided, in the exercise of our powers under Standing Order 4 (b) in relation to urgent or other especially important business, to direct the addition to the agenda for the February Group of sessions of a short debate. This will enable the Synod to hear from the Bishop of Durham, to reflect on the attached briefing note and, if it agrees, to pass a short motion that the Bishop will move on our behalf in the following terms:

“That this Synod, gravely concerned at the desperate plight of Christian communities in parts of Nigeria as described in GS 1861, request the British Government to do all it can to support those in Nigeria seeking to protect religious minorities of all faiths and enable them to practise their religion without fear.”

+ Rowan Cantuar: + Sentamu Ebor:
3 February 2012

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 7 February 2012 at 8:19am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod

This is laudable, of course, and the Bishop of Durham has the kind of impeccable mission credentials likely to endear him to Nigerian Anglicans.

But the Archbishops have fundamentally misunderstood the situation in Nigeria if they think it is simply a matter of Muslims v. Christians. Boko Haram is an insurgent militant movement in Northern Nigeria, and its main targets are not churches but government institutions such as post offices and police stations. The vast majority of the victims of BH attacks are Muslims, and the group's aim is not to kill Christians but to make Northern Nigeria ungovernable.

Drawing attention to the plight of Christians in Nigeria is very important, but it doesn't look good if the Church of England seems to be concerned only about the Christian victims of Islamist militancy. Nigerian Muslims bleed red blood too, and at present they bleed a lot more of it.

Posted by: rjb on Tuesday, 7 February 2012 at 10:09am GMT
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