The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is deeply concerned about the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has resulted in the loss of countless lives, destruction of infrastructure, and deepened the humanitarian crisis in the region. We are also concerned about its implications for Nigeria and Nigerian pilgrims.
The recent surprise attack by a militant group on Israeli citizens, resulting in the tragic loss of numerous lives and abduction of several persons, including women and children, is a distressing event that undermines the pursuit of global peace. CAN firmly condemns any act of violence that threatens the lives of innocent individuals, regardless of their nationality or religious background.
While recognizing Israel’s right to self-defense, we emphasize the importance of proportionality and the avoidance of harm to innocent civilians in any military response. The loss of innocent lives on both sides of the conflict is a tragic consequence of this escalating situation, and we extend our deepest condolences to all those who have suffered the loss of their loved ones in these incidents.
Consequently, we call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and violence between Israel and Palestine. We believe in the sanctity of human life and the principles of justice and peace, as upheld by our Christian faith. We urge all parties involved to engage in dialogue and seek diplomatic solutions.
Many Nigerian Christians undertake pilgrimages to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and other sacred sites. The ongoing conflict in the region raises concerns about the safety and well-being of Nigerian pilgrims. Therefore, we advise that the airlifting of Pilgrims be suspended until normalcy returns in the area.
Furthermore, the ongoing war holds significant implications for Nigeria’s faith communities. It is crucial for religious leaders and communities in Nigeria to actively promote understanding, compassion, and peaceful coexistence among diverse religious groups. We must resist the temptation to allow this conflict to deepen divisions or inflame religious tensions within our nation, Nigeria.
In light of these developments, CAN prays for the repose of the souls of those who were killed in the violent attack and the resultant war, as well as reconciliation, healing, and enduring peace in the region. May God Almighty comfort their families. We also call upon the international community, including the United Nations and relevant stakeholders, to redouble their efforts in facilitating a just and lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Finally, we encourage all religious congregations in Nigeria to engage in fervent prayers for peace and unity in the region, for the protection and well-being of those affected by the conflict, and the speedy release of the abducted individuals. Let us remember that our faith calls us to be peacemakers and agents of reconciliation, even in the midst of conflict and adversity.
May the God of peace guide us as we navigate these challenging times, and may His grace and mercy prevail in the lands of Israel and Palestine.
Signed: Archbishop Daniel Okoh
President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)