Britain’s drift away from its Christian moorings is impacting its ability to support Christians being attacked in other countries.
The Primate, Church of Nigeria *Anglican Communion), Archbishop Nicholas Okoh made the above comments during a meeting at the House of Lords on Tuesday night where he gave a report on widespread attacks against churches in Nigeria.
Hundreds of Christians have been killed in targeted attacks by the militant Islamist group, Boko Haram. The attacks have been concentrated in the largely Muslim north.
On Christmas Day, dozens were killed when a bomb was set off at St Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madalla.
Earlier this month, a suicide bomber attempted to drive his bomb-laden car into a church compound inKaduna. When he was turned away by a security guard, he detonated his devices a few streets away, killing at least 38.
Archbishop Okoh said that people attending church services now have to be searched for weapons and bombs upon entry. Police also have to be deployed to guard church events.
He said that the stringent checks had left some Christians feeling that they no longer want to attend church anymore.
Church leaders have met the government to raise their concerns over the level of violence and plead for greater protection for Christians.
Archbishop Okoh said it had become “difficult to know who to trust” as the police and even the government has become “infiltrated” by Boko Haram.
“It is not strictly speaking Christians versus Muslims,” he explained.
“It is a sect that has broken loose from control, and among the [mainstream] Muslims there are sympathisers of Boko Haram.
“Mainstream Muslims are as baffled and confused as others inNigeria.”
Meetings are taking place with Muslim leaders every three months but the Archbishop said they were proving “ineffectual” as the extremists “don’t come within our influence”.
He suspects that talks with Boko Haram would also be fruitless as their two main demands – the islamisation of the north and the abolition of Western-style education – are so “outrageous” that they cannot be accepted.