GENEVA, Switzerland, January 22, 2015— Attacks in Niger, resulting in the destruction of more than 70 churches and the killing of an undetermined number of people, were strongly condemned by the World Council of Churches (WCC). These events have come as repercussions following the Charlie Hebdo attack and the “Je suis Charlie” campaign in support of the controversial French weekly publication.
An official WCC statement issued on 22 January reads, “The WCC is grateful for the strong condemnation by the government of Niger of these attacks. President Mahamadou Issoufou denounced the anti-Christian violence, addressing his fellow citizens in these words, ‘What have the Christians of Niger done to deserve this? Where have they wronged you?’”
The statement also notes that Niger is a “predominantly Muslim country but one with a reputation of relative tolerance towards its Christian minority”, also stating that “over the past few years there has been a growing campaign of radicalization.”
The statement showed appreciation for remarks made on a BBC radio broadcast by the Christian pastor Sani Nomao, “I call on every single believer in Niger to forgive and forget, to love Muslims with all their heart, to keep up the faith, to love Christ like never before.”
SOURCE: World Council of Churches (WCC)