Religious experts have said that there is an urgent need to respond to the continuing attacks by extremist groups against Christian communities in Africa, due to significant increase in beheadings, kidnappings and other violent attacks by extremist groups against Christian communities.
The statement was made at a meeting which took place at Ave Maria school in Naples, Florida United States on March 5, and was attended by two heads of the Aid to the Church in Need; Marcela Szymanski, the foundation’s representative to the European Union and Edward Clancy, in charge of international communication.
They unanimously agreed that it is necessary to put pressure on governments in Western countries to redefine their policies also with regard to humanitarian aid for the African continent.
One of the participants at the meeting, Father Joseph Fidelis, of the diocese of Maiduguri North Eastern Nigeria which is considered the epicenter of the persecution of Christians in Nigeria, witnessed the atrocities that have been committed in the region, having no doubt in classifying the attacks on Christians as being “ terrorism”.
In his words, the “local population” is poor, “suffers at the hands of militant groups”, and there is a clear target in these attacks: Terrorists do not attack non-Christian villages, “while Christian villages are razed and their slaughtered residents”.
As an example of the atrocities committed, Father Fidelis gave the example of a Catholic bride and six other women who were going to participate in their wedding ceremony and who were kidnapped and beheaded in December in Maiduguri.
There are countless cases of extremist violence against Christian communities in this region of Africa, as Aid to the Church in Need has repeatedly denounced.
The representatives of ACN at the meeting, Marcela Szymanski and Edward Clancy, expressed the urgency of a global strategy in support of these religious communities that are victims of extremist violence.
“After hundreds of unpunished murders during 2019 in Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Kenya and Mozambique,” said Szymanski and Clancy, “terrorist groups feel confident enough” to threaten to “raze villages” if their young people, both boys as girls, refuse to surrender as slaves.
Former Congressman Frank Wolf, among other specialists from countries as diverse as the United States, Poland, Belgium, Germany, Slovakia, Hungary, United Kingdom and Nigeria also participated in the meeting.