Vatican urges safety for Christians

2012-04-30 22:20

Vatican City - Governments should ensure the security of all believers, the Vatican's top official for inter-religious dialogue told AFP on Monday, a day after deadly anti-Christian attacks in Kenya and Nigeria.

"No cause can justify such barbaric acts. Attacking believers who are praying in their temple, of whatever type, is not just a mistake, it's a misdeed. For believers, it's a sin," Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran said.

Gunmen opened fire at church services at a Nigerian university on Sunday, killing 20 people as worshippers tried to flee, in an attack similar to others carried out by Islamist group Boko Haram against Christian churches.

Also on Sunday, one man was killed in Nairobi in a grenade attack on a church.

"Political leaders have to ensure the safety of believers. The state is responsible for the security of all citizens," the cardinal said.

"Inter-religious dialogue is needed more than ever," he added.

Tauran called for "firmness" against such acts but warned against revenge, saying that "violence only leads to more violence".

He emphasised the importance of education to combat "religious illiteracy" about each other's faiths and spiritual guidance.

"Religious leaders need to form the conscience of the faithful," he said.

The Vatican is very concerned by rising anti-Christian violence in Africa and the Middle East, which often push Christians into leaving their countries.

On Sunday, it condemned the attacks in Kenya and Nigeria as "terrorist" acts and warned against creating a "vicious circle of homicidal hatred".

Read more on:    the vatican  |  kenya  |  nigeria  |  east africa  |  west africa  |  religion

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