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Nigerian cardinal: religious extremism has been on the rise for 20 years

January 20, 2016

Religious extremism has been on the rise in Nigeria for at least 20 years, Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja said in an address to Ahmadu Bello University.

About twenty years ago, the cardinal said, the country saw “a rise in strict fanaticism, where people held so tightly to their own faith that they declared that they are the only ones acceptable to God.” This trend was visible in Christian as well as Muslim communities, he added.

“Riots and murderous conflicts are a natural development from exclusivist fanatical rejection of the other,” Cardinal Onaiyekan continued. He said that the brutal terrorism of Boko Haram militants is a clear outgrowth of this trend.

The cardinal said that it is not enough simply to denounce terrorism in the present climate. “We must also address the grave danger posed by those who preach rejection of other faiths, whether in their mosques or in their churches.”


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