Niger's Bishops Reaffirm Friendship With Muslims

Following Protest Aftermath, Prelates Say That Church Will Rebuild

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In the wake of the anti-Christian violence that heavily affected the Church in recent days, the bishops of Niger reaffirmed their friendship with the Muslim community.

In a letter addressed to the Muslim community, bishops stated: «We want to renew our friendship and brotherhood to the entire Muslim community in our country.» 

According to Fides, the bishops thanked all Muslims «for the gestures and acts of solidarity» shown during the attacks against the Christian community, and said, «We are united in the pain that you share with us.»

“Our places of worship and most of our infrastructure have been destroyed,” the bishops added, “but our faith is intact.»

“What our common enemies have deliberately aimed to destroy,” they noted, «We will build again.”

Gradually, the bishops explained, the activities of the Catholic Church, “which have no other purpose than to serve the people,” will resume where they can, depending on each individual situation.Citizens of the Muslim-majority country had protested the publishing of cartoons of the prophet Mohammed in the French magazine Charlie Hebdo. The images were published several days after a terrorist attack at the magazine’s headquarters in Paris. 

Local police reported that when demonstrations turned violent, 45 churches were burned and 10 people killed.

During last Wednesday’s general audience, Pope Francis prayed for those affected by the African nation’s violence.

“Brutalities have been committed against Christians, against children, against churches,” he said. “Let us pray to the Lord for the gift of reconciliation and peace, so that religious sentiment may never become an occasion of violence, oppression and destruction.”

“War,” he exclaimed, “cannot be made in the name of God!”

Meanwhile, the Catholic Church in Niger has suspended all its activities until further notice.


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