WASHINGTON--The United States should assist the Nigerian government to promote national security and social development and should partner with civil society, especially faith-based institutions, to build social cohesion and stop violence, said the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace in a letter to National Security Advisor Susan Rice. The May 9 letter from Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, came in response to the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls in Nigeria by Boko Haram.
"The Church in Nigeria has called for continuous dialogue among political, military and religious leaders to end the violence, complemented by effective police and military action that brings perpetrators of violence to justice while respecting human and civil rights," wrote Bishop Pates. Referring to both Christian and Muslim faith-based institutions, he said, "Their efforts will be crucial in counteracting the extremist religious views espoused by Boko Haram."
Bishop Pates said that he has also written to Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria, to express the U.S. bishops' solidarity. He added that he was encouraged by the efforts of the U.S. government to help Nigeria bring the perpetrators to justice.
The full text of Bishop Pates' letter is available online.