“Please don’t forget us”
The civilized world, rightly, rose up to condemn the recent murders in Paris of journalists and shoppers in a Jewish deli.
Millions took to the streets, and every sane publication or news program expressed, appropriately, outrage at this attack by Islamic fanatics, a butchery threatening civility and human rights.
My good friend, the persecuted Archbishop of Jos, Nigeria, Ignatius Kaigama, expressed his condemnation as well, joining leaders of all faiths.
But Archbishop Kaigama, a brave, sincere, and beloved pastor, who has seen hundreds of his churches, healthcare clinics, and schools burned to the ground, and, dreadfully worse, hundreds of his good, decent, peaceful people cut to shreds by the machetes and machine guns of the Islamic radicals of Boko Haram, also begged, “But, please don’t forget us! Where are the marchers in Europe and North America condemning the continued massacres of religious minorities, especially Christians, in Africa, (and, he might have added, in the Mideast and Asia)?
Are the lives of these innocent people less worthy of respect and protection than those of white Europeans?
As Ronald Lauder, the President of the World Jewish Congress, recently reminded us, (The New York Times, August 19, 2014), it is “open season” on Christian minorities throughout much of the world, and the armed, vicious hunters are Islamic fanatics.
I have heard my friend Archbishop Ignatius eloquently insist that these extremists are not representative of genuine Islam, as he describes how Moslems and Catholics in his own area of Nigeria work together as neighbors, and how members of both groups have been slaughtered by the jihadists.
His plea, “Please don’t forget us,” wakes me up at night, dominates my prayers, and prompts my advocacy. Can I ask you to listen to him as well?