Don't turn other cheek, says Nigerian archbishop

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The Independent Online

The Archbishop of Abuja in Nigeria has accused the government of failing to protect Christians during religious riots that have left more than 200 dead, and he urged church followers to defend themselves.

The Archbishop of Abuja in Nigeria has accused the government of failing to protect Christians during religious riots that have left more than 200 dead, and he urged church followers to defend themselves.

Nigeria's Christians are "tired of turning the other cheek", the Most Rev John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan said. "It is a Christian duty to protect yourselves." He did not elaborate. President Olusegun Obasanjo's government had failed to "ensure safety and security of life", Archbishop Onaiyekan said. "We blame the government because we rely on the government to protect us. Who else do I blame?"

Senior clergy from the Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran and other churches also criticised the government, arguing that Christians bore the brunt of the violence last week.

The rioting, which began in the northern city of Kaduna and briefly spread to Abuja, was set off by an article in the Lagos-based ThisDay newspaper which suggested that Islam's founding prophet, Mohamed, would have wanted to marry a Miss World contestant. ( AP)

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