130 Christians murdered over cartoons

More deadly news concerning the Christians in Nigeria. Pray for these people.

Muslim rioters, incensed over the cartoons of Muhammad published in Denmark, were responsible for killing at least 130 Christians on the streets of Maiduguri and Onitsha in Nigeria, according to reports filtering out of the country from Voice of the Martyrs.
At least 51 Christians are confirmed dead in the Maiduguri attacks that took place Saturday. In the rampage, more than 150 homes and 32 churches were burned, and 85 shops were destroyed. Authorities were finally able to control the volatile scene after arresting 114 and having militia enforce a curfew.
The mayhem began when Muslims staged their demonstration against degrading caricatures of Muhammad that were originally published in September 2005 by the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten. Even though the cartoons were by no means a Christian attack on Islam, Muslims in Nigeria and throughout the world have turned their rage toward Christians – many of whom have never even heard of the controversial sketches, reports
Voice of the Martyrs.
Muslims were reported running through the streets of Maiduguri threatening people with death and violence if they did not speak their local dialect. Many of the dozens of victims were publicly tortured to death in the city streets.
Amidst the violence, six children were burned to ashes in front of their father, Joseph Tukwa, who was unable to rescue them. Six Christian leaders, including the Rev. Joshua Adamu, were injured and are now in hiding. Church of Christ in Nigeria, Living Faith Church, Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, St. Augustine’s Catholic Church and St. Mary’s Catholic Church were some of the churches set ablaze by rioters, who killed two Catholic priests. St. Rita’s Catholic Church was also torched. The Rev. Fr. Matthew Gajere was murdered and then burned after he helped several altar boys escape to safety.
In total, at least 123 people have been killed in the last four days of violence across Nigeria.
At least 80 people, mostly Christians, were slaughtered during two days of violence in Onitsha, leading Nigerian human rights group Civil Liberties Organization, said yesterday.
“We counted at least 60 dead on Tuesday, and on Wednesday no less than 20,” said Emeka Umeh, who heads CLO in Anambra State.
With Nigeria’s population of 126 million people roughly split between a predominantly Muslim north and a Christian majority south, analysts say the cartoon controversy has simply served as a spark for this latest episode of sectarian violence.

And from the Vatican:

Vatican to Muslims: practice what you preach
PARIS (Reuters) – After backing calls by Muslims for respect for their religion in the Mohammad cartoons row, the Vatican is now urging Islamic countries to reciprocate by showing more tolerance toward their Christian minorities.
Roman Catholic leaders at first said Muslims were right to be outraged when Western newspapers reprinted Danish caricatures of the Prophet, including one with a bomb in his turban. Most Muslims consider any images of Mohammad to be blasphemous.
After criticizing both the cartoons and the violent protests in Muslim countries that followed, the Vatican this week linked the issue to its long-standing concern that the rights of other faiths are limited, sometimes severely, in Muslim countries.
Vatican prelates have been concerned by recent killings of two Catholic priests in Turkey and Nigeria. Turkish media linked the death there to the cartoons row. At least 146 Christians and Muslims have died in five days of religious riots in Nigeria.
“If we tell our people they have no right to offend, we have to tell the others they have no right to destroy us,” Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican’s Secretary of State (prime minister), told journalists in Rome.
“We must always stress our demand for reciprocity in political contacts with authorities in Islamic countries and, even more, in cultural contacts,” Foreign Minister Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo told the daily Corriere della Sera.
Reciprocity — allowing Christian minorities the same rights as Muslims generally have in Western countries, such as building houses of worship or practicing religion freely — is at the heart of Vatican diplomacy toward Muslim states.
Vatican diplomats argue that limits on Christians in some Islamic countries are far harsher than restrictions in the West that Muslims decry, such as France’s ban on headscarves in state schools.
Saudi Arabia bans all public expression of any non-Muslim religion and sometimes arrests Christians even for worshipping privately. Pakistan allows churches to operate but its Islamic laws effectively deprive Christians of many rights.
Both countries are often criticized at the United Nations Human Rights Commission for violating religious freedoms.

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