“… and we want democracy and the constitution to be suspended.”
Those are the demands from the cretins responsible for bombings in Nigeria targeting Catholic churches:
Outside St. Theresa Catholic Church, crowds gathered among the burned-out cars in the dirt parking lot, angry over the attack claimed by a radical Muslim sect and fearful that the group will target more churches.
Rev. Father Christopher Jataudarde told The Associated Press that Sunday’s blast happened as church officials gave parishioners white powder as part of a tradition celebrating the birth of Christ.
Some already had left the church at the time of the bombing, causing the massive casualties. In the chaos after the bombing, Jataudarde said one mortally wounded man, cradling his shredded stomach, begged him for religious atonement.
“Father, pray for me, I will not survive,” the man said, according to the priest.
At least 52 people were wounded in the attack, said Slaku Luguard, a coordinator with Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency. Victims filled the cement floors of a nearby government hospital, some crying in pools of their own blood.
On Christmas, attacks by the radical Muslim sect left 39 dead across Africa’s most populous nation. A bomb also exploded amid gunfire in the central Nigeria city of Jos and a suicide car bomber attacked the military in the nation’s northeast.
After the bombings, a Boko Haram spokesman using the nom de guerre Abul-Qaqa claimed responsibility for the attacks in an interview with The Daily Trust, the newspaper of record across Nigeria’s Muslim north. The sect has used the newspaper in the past to communicate with public.
“There will never be peace until our demands are met,” the newspaper quoted the spokesman as saying. “We want all our brothers who have been incarcerated to be released; we want full implementation of the Sharia system and we want democracy and the constitution to be suspended.”
Pope Benedict offered these words in reply:
“Holy Christmas inspires us in a particularly strong way to pray to God so that the hands of the violent are stopped, (hands) that sow death in the world …” the pope said.
He said news of the bombings in Nigeria had brought him “profound sadness” and he wanted to assure Nigeria’s Christian community, hit by “this absurd gesture”, that he was close to them.
“At this moment, I want to repeat once more forcefully: violence is a path that leads only to pain, destruction and death. Respect, reconciliation and love are the only ways to achieve peace,” he said.
I join in prayer for loved ones lost and injured, loved ones left behind to pick up the the pieces of their lives.
I pray as well for wisdom for Western world leaders as the threat posed by Islamic extremists grows.