Egypt and Nigeria: Address Threats to World Peace and Personal Safety
Freetown, December 14, 2016
We are saddened by the sad news of the tragic death of worshipers in churches in two separate incidences in the region this Advent. In Egypt, terrorists planted bomb in the part of the Coptic Cathedral, especially designated for women (and children), in tandem with cultural norms. As many as twenty-five people were killed when the bomb went off. There is no gainsaying that this heinous act was religiously motivated. In Nigeria, it might have been the handiwork of unscrupulous business people, cutting corners and doing a shoddy job of construction with unintended consequences. The collapse of the church building left over fifty people dead.
Our heartfelt condolences to the bereaving families and the Christian communities in the two countries. We take comfort and encouragement from the words of Athanasius of Alexandria, when he insightfully states: “Christ became what we are that he might make us what he is”. The joy of Advent is unstoppable; Joy to the world the Lord is come.
No matter the reasons for source of our pain, we find healing at the feet of the Cross of Jesus our Lord. We believe the Lord Jesus Christ would be mindful of his earthly sojourn in Egypt, escaping a terror threat in his birth place in Bethlehem, so he would ultimately defeat death itself. Indeed, becoming what we are, destined for death, so we might become what he is in life; gaining eternal life.
While we take comfort in our faith in Jesus, we would be amiss in our civic responsibility with out the strongest words of condemnation for the perpetrators and their accomplices for these barbaric crimes. The fact of these religiously motivated attacks in places of worship and curtailment of liberties for other people of faith in the so called Islamic and pseudo secular states is unacceptable. Equally so, the corrupt practices of our leaders, encouraging criminal and unethical business deals continue to met a devastating blow to the aspirations of the common people for human flourishing.
We call on world leaders, under the auspices of the United Nations, African Union etc. and the states leaders themselves, to take seriously these threats and vices to world peace and the safety of all persons in their jurisdiction.
Rev. Dr. Aiah Foday-Khabenje
General Secretary, Association of Evangelicals in Africa