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Nigeria suppresses Islamist uprising; bishops back ‘law and order,’ education

Catholic World News - August 03, 2009

The Nigerian army has suppressed an Islamist uprising, making dozens of arrests and killing Boko Haram leader Mohammed Yusuf.

Boko Haram, also known as the “Nigerian Taliban,” had launched attacks on police stations and churches in four northern and central Nigerian states. In Maiduguri, capital of Borno State-- Nigeria’s northeasternmost state-- five Christian churches were destroyed, and a Protestant pastor was killed.

In a statement calling for peace, Nigeria’s bishops pointed to Islamic history to counter Boko Haram’s claims that education was corrupting youth. Denouncing “any religious movement that would subvert the progress that has been made in education and technology in Nigeria and at the same time thwart law and order,” the bishops stated that “modern education and modern civilizations do not preclude ardent religious devotion. In fact, it should be underlined that Islam, as a religious practice, from places like Al-Azhar, carried the light of learning through so many centuries and paved the way for Europe's renaissance and enlightenment.”

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