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Boko Haram threatens Muslims too, archbishop says

Catholic World News - August 08, 2012

A terrorist attack on a mosque in central Nigeria shows that “Boko Haram is a threat to everyone, not just Christians,” observed Archbishop John Onaiyekan of Abuja.

Four people were killed when gunmen assaulted the mosque in Okene on August 8. A day earlier, at least 20 people had been killed in a similar attack on the Deeper Life Church in the same town. (Early reports had set the death toll at 19, but at least one more victim has succumbed to wounds.)

Archbishop Onaiyekan said that the attack on the mosque was not unprecedented, “but previous attacks against mosques have not had the same prominence of attacks against Christian churches, perhaps because when Islamic groups attack a mosque it is not news.” In fact, he said, Boko Haram has probably claimed more Muslim than Christian victims in its terrorist activities.

?"It is true that Boko Haram terrorists attack churches and say they want to drive Christians out,” the archbishop said. But he said it is too simplistic to characterize the group’s campaign as a persecution of Christians. Boko Haram “sows violence,” Archbishop Onaiyekan said, and Christians are among the conspicuous victims of that violence.

In the town of Okene particularly, the archbishop said, a large Christian minority lives in harmony with the Islamic majority. Now both religious groups must determine the best way to respond to the terrorists. “I know for a fact that Muslim and Christian leaders discuss how to address the common threat,” he said.

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