Friday, 30 December 2011

Christians being attacked by power hungry terrorists

Muhammad found Christianity a most sympathetic religion, although he had certain serious reservations. Accepting differences to be ‘as they are’ was the first step in establishing peaceful relations between the Christians and Prophet Muhammad some fourteen hundred years ago.

In today’s western world, millions of Christians would prefer to not rock the boat with Islam and rather try to accommodate it. It is also apparent to honest and sincere and peace-loving Muslims that Christians and Muslims believe in and pray to the same God. Both Muslims and Christians ask for help and forgiveness from the same God. Both of them declare the importance of ‘peace’ so, it is only natural to expect that the followers of the two traditions would be able to establish peace together all around the world.

He who takes his religion seriously and therefore also tells the other one where and why he sees things differently recognizes the importance of dialogue. He who is rooted in his own religion will also recognize the right of the believers of the other religion to practice their own religion. Christians, for example, must not blame a Muslim or feel offended when he sees everything, including Christianity, from the Qur'an's point of view, even if he cannot follow Mahammad’s teachings in many things. The same applies to Muslims.

Christians must not tell Jews and Muslims how their religion is to be understood. He who is not ready to detect the other religion as being different and to see its inner logic will never be able to do it justice to the followers of the other religions and to enter into a real dialogue with the followers of other religions. Everyone should therefore be able to explain his own religion to those who follow that religion and be able to do so in peace. Further, queries from outside one’s own religion must be allowed to be directed to every religion providing that it is done respectfully.

The ultimate aim should not be conversion or the creation of a universal religion or agreement on the smallest common denominator but rather mutual enlightenment, openness to each other, communication in order to promote justice, freedom and a peaceful living together for all the people on this earth.

The co-operation (instead of fighting each other) of the three God-related religions in this cramped, conflict-full world demands the deepening of one's own faith, the conversion from superficial regulations to the spiritual core of each other’s religions, so that we as human beings are able to give each other and the world the things which we owe to everyone in it by the will of their common God. Christians and Muslims understand their religions as universal. In the past Christians often thought that the whole world had to become Christian. Today the churches understand their mission differently: as service and as invitation, without compulsion or the desire to drive away other religions.

Jews, Christians and Muslims have as a common principle the faith in the one God, the creator of all beings. From that basis the basic attitude results primarily to recognize others as God's creatures. Meeting members of other religions is therefore primarily recognition of other people's existence.

World peace is at stake and from a world of violence Mankind must move into God's world of universal brother-sisterly love, as each human being must walk in peace on that common path that is before all of us.

The three monotheistic religions have in the past fought against each other rather than have peace with one another. One of them has currently disputed one of the other's right to practice its own religion in peace and has been doing this even in this present era. In doing this, the terrorists are following an edict of Muhammad who stated in Sura (chapter) 9:4-5—“If you have made a treaty with infidels, do not break the treaty until the holy months are past. Then fight them and kill them wherever you find them and then take them captive and besiege them and ambush them.” unquote

It is most unfortunate however that there are Islamic terrorists around the world who are murdering many followers of Christianity and using Sura 9:4-5 as their justification. These Islamic terrorists have already forgotten the teachings of their own prophet, Muhammad or alternatively, they haven’t forgotten them but instead they are ignoring many of them especially the edict in which he says that the followers of other religions should be left in peace.

Their desire to denounce the beliefs of those whom they deem to be non-believers encourages religious fanatics who encourage violence and who are ignoring those holy texts of other religions and at any rate, disputes the rights of those they have deemed as non-believers to worship God in their own way.

The Christmas Day (2011) attacks in Nigeria show the growing national ambition of the sect known as Boko Haram, which is thought to be responsible for killing as many as 504 Christians this year in Nigeria alone. The sect, that aims to impose sharia law across the country, claimed responsibility for the three church bombs, the second Christmas in a row the group has caused mass carnage with deadly bombings of churches.

The first explosion struck St. Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla, a town in Niger state close to the capital, Abuja, killing at least 35 and wounding 52. The church was packed when the bomb exploded just outside.
Hours after the first bomb, blasts were reported at the Mountain of Fire and

Miracles Church in the central, ethnically and religiously mixed town of Jos, and at a church in northern Yobe state at the town of Gadaka. Residents said many were wounded in Gadaka, but there were no immediate further details. Last years Christmas Eve bombings in Jos left at least 32 dead and 74 wounded.

The city of Jos is located on the dividing line between Nigeria's predominantly Christian south and Muslim north. Thousands have died in communal clashes there over the last decade. Shariah law exists across Nigeria, a multi-ethnic nation of more than 160 million people.

The White House condemned the violent attacks in Nigeria on Sunday, which it said appeared to be acts of terrorism. “We condemn this senseless violence and tragic loss of life on Christmas Day,” the White House said in a statement released from Hawaii, where President Barack Obama is vacationing. “We have been in contact with Nigerian officials about what initially appear to be terrorist acts and pledge to assist them in bringing those responsible to justice. The White House said the attacks appeared to be acts of terrorism. The White House further said: “We condemn this senseless violence and tragic loss of life on Christmas Day”

The Vatican has also denounced the attacks as a sign of 'cruelty and absurd, blind hatred' that shows no respect for human life. A Vatican spokesman said the church hoped “this senseless violence does not weaken the will of the Nigerian people to live peacefully and promote dialogue in their country”.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague called the bombs ‘cowardly attacks on families gathered in peace and prayer to celebrate a day which symbolizes harmony and goodwill towards others’.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy ‘condemned these acts of violence in the strongest terms’ and ‘expressed solidarity with Nigeria's fight against terrorism’, his office said.

Italian foreign minister Giulio Terzi condemned ‘vile attacks ... against the universal principles of civilization.’

Although billions of dollars of oil money flow into the nation’s annual budget, Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency sent texts to journalists asking for more ambulances. The wounded filled a government hospital, with TV images showing them weeping.

Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has acknowledged it didn't have enough ambulances immediately on hand to help the wounded. Co-ordinator Slaku Luguard said an angry crowd that gathered at the blast site hampered rescue efforts as they refused to allow workers inside. “We're trying to calm the situation, said Luguard. “There are some angry people around trying to cause problems.”

Government spokesman Pam Ayuba said gunmen later opened fire on police guarding the area, killing one police officer. Two other locally made explosives were found in a nearby building and disarmed, he said.

When the bomb went off, there were scenes of chaos, as shocked residents stared at the wreckage in disbelief.

“Mass just ended and people were rushing out of the church and suddenly I heard a loud explosion. Cars were in flames and bodies littered everywhere,” Nnana Nwachukwu said. Father Christopher Barde, Assistant priest of the church, said: ‘The officials who counted told me they have picked up 27 bodies so far. I happen to also live close

After the bombings, a Boko Haram spokesman using the nom de guerre Abul-Qaqa, claimed responsibility for the attacks in an interview with The Daily Trust, the newspaper of record across Nigeria's Muslim north. The sect has used the newspaper in the past to communicate with public.

The U.S. Embassy in Nigeria's capital of Abuja had issued a warning to citizens to be 'particularly vigilant' around churches, large crowds and areas where foreigners congregate.

Several days of fighting in and around the north-eastern city of Damaturu between the sect and security forces already had killed at least 61 people, authorities said. The local police commissioner Tanko Lawan said several explosions had struck
Damaturu, including a suicide car bombing.

Lawan said that the blasts happened around noon, targeting the headquarters of Nigeria's secret police, the State Security Service, in the area. The State Security Service later issued a statement saying the bomber targeted a senior military commander and killed three officers in the attack.

In the last year, Boko Haram has carried out increasingly bloody attacks in its campaign to implement strict Shariah law across Nigeria, a nation of more than 160 million people.

Boko Haram claimed responsibility for a November 4th attack on Damaturu, Yobe state's capital, that killed more than 100 people. The group also claimed responsibility for the August 24th suicide car bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Nigeria's capital that killed 24 people and wounded 116 others.

The sect came to national prominence in 2009, when its members rioted and burned police stations near its base of Maiduguri, a dusty north-eastern city on the cusp of the Sahara Desert.

Nigeria's military violently put down the attack, crushing the sect's mosque into shards as its leader was arrested and died in police custody. About 700 people died during the violence.

While initially targeting enemies via hit-and-run assassinations from the back of motorbikes after the 2009 riot, violence by Boko Haram now has a new sophistication and apparent planning that includes high-profile attacks with greater casualties.

Boko Haram has splintered into three factions, with one wing increasingly willing to kill as it maintains contact with terror groups in North Africa and Somalia, diplomats and security sources say. Sect members are scattered throughout northern Nigeria and nearby Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

Boko Haram—which in the Hausa language spoken in northern Nigeria means 'Western education is sinful'—is loosely modeled on the Taliban movement in Afghanistan. The group considers all who do not follow its strict ideology as infidels, whether they are Christian or Muslim. It demands the adoption of sharia, Islamic law, in all of Nigeria.

What is all comes down to is not about the right of Muslims to practice Islam as they already have that right. It is all about power. The terrorists are seeking power and attacking other religious as a means to obtaining their goal of acquiring power over their own people.

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