Nigerian Christian, Muslim Groups at Odds Over Catholic Bishop’s Sermon

ABUJA, NIGERIA – Muslim groups in Nigeria are calling for the resignation of a Catholic clergyman who sternly criticized President Muhammadu Buhari over continued insecurity in the country. But Nigerian Christian groups have backed the priest, noting that his views represent the position of the broader Christian public.

Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has condemned Bishop Matthew Kukah’s comments about the government, saying he portrayed Islam as a violent religion and implied that Buhari should be overthrown.

The group also moved for Kukah’s removal from the country’s National Peace Committee, where he is secretary.

Ishaq Akintola, director of MURIC, said, “Anyone can criticize [the] government in a democracy. What we object to is his call for [a] military coup. That is treason. We also took him up on his reference to Islam as a violent religion. He has no right to do that. We believe such an explosive statement is un-Christian and inconsistent with the spirit of Christmas.”

In a Christmas Day sermon, Kukah accused the president of favoring fellow Muslims, adding that “President Buhari’s acts of nepotism could have led to a coup if he was a non-northern Muslim.”

His sermon also talked about the Nigerian government’s inability to address insecurity in the country.