The repercussions from the Charlie Hebdo attack and the “Je suis Charlie” campaign continue to resonate around the world, and have now led to attacks on Christians and Christian property in Niger. Niger is a predominantly Muslim country but one with a reputation of relative tolerance towards its Christian minority. However, over the past few years there has been a growing campaign of radicalization. Over the weekend of 16-19 January it is reported that more than 70 churches were destroyed, and a number of people killed.
The WCC is grateful for the strong condemnation by the government of Niger of these attacks. President Mahamadou Issoufou denounced the anti-Christian violence, addressing his fellow citizens in these words, “What have the Christians of Niger done to deserve this? Where have they wronged you?” We also note with appreciation the remarks made on a BBC radio broadcast by the Christian pastor Sani Nomao, “I call on every single believer in Niger to forgive and forget, to love Muslims with all their heart, to keep up the faith, to love Christ like never before. “