Abuja - "The Church should continue to correct the distorted historical narrative of fundamentalist’s ideology which identifies colonialism and Western civilization with Christianity" say the Rectors of Seminaries of Nigeria in the document published at the end of a committee workshop held in early May at the Spiritan School of Philosophy in Isienu, Nsukka.
In the document entitled "Christian witness in the face of Islamic militancy", the history of Islam in Nigeria is briefly traced, underlining that in the nineteenth century the struggle against British colonizers by the Islamist preacher of the Fulani ethnic group, Uthman dan Fodio , "waved the flag of pure Islam and refused all Western Culture".
A century and a half later, Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen continue the same ideological line. Boko Haram has committed "ceaseless attacks on churches and schools, communities and security agencies, leading to the loss of thousands of lives and property. And today Fulani herdsmen kill, plunder and occupy territories without the government being able to stop them".
"These groups - underline the Rectors of seminaries - are motivated by the ideology that Islam has to rule in all spheres of life. And above all Western civilization is antithetical to Islam and it is not possible for Islam to co-exist with democracy and with those they call infidels".
To counteract these trends, the statement suggests fighting against ignorance "that plays a vital role in the history of fundamentalism". "For this reason the Church and the government should continue to foster education at the grassroot and establish schools where they are not found".
Christians should also promote policies of economic development, defense of democracy and fundamental human rights, above all that of life, remaining united in professing their faith and bearing witness to the love of Christ.