Nigerian Archbishop to speak in Tulsa

Archbishop Ben Kwashi

Archbishop Ben Kwashi

Archbishop Kwashi will speak in Tulsa at Church of the Holy Spirit Anglican Sunday evening at 6 p.m. and Monday evening at 7 p.m. at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church on persecution and conflict caused by the terrorist group Boko Haram throughout northern Nigeria and how Christians worldwide must witness faith and stand against evil.

In an article published by Christianity Today in November 2014, Kwashi strongly countered the assertion by U.S. President Barack Obama that terrorism is the result of poverty and specifically demanded that the activities of Boko Haram be acknowledged as examples of Islamic extremism – this even before Boko Haram publicly pledged alliance with ISIS.

Children sit in front of a burnt house in Baga, Nigeria, on April 21, 2013 after two days of clashes between officers of the Joint Task Force and members of the Islamist sect Boko Haram, a radical group which wants to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria.

Children sit in front of a burnt house in Baga, Nigeria, on April 21, 2013 after two days of clashes between officers of the Joint Task Force and members of the Islamist sect Boko Haram, a radical group which wants to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria.

Referring to the bombing in Potiskum Nigeria, Archbishop Kwashi said such a claim was “to undermine the truth with the same old story we hear again and again from those unwilling to face the connected and organized global jihadist network we face today.”

He said poverty could not explain the death by suicide bomb of 40 Muslim school children in Potiksum.

“It does not explain the abduction, forced conversion, and forced marriage of some 200 girls in Chibok.

“To say that this is the result of poverty and corruption is to play down the evil of Boko Haram, and their form of Islam – an Islam we do not know from the Koran, or from the Muslims of my generation.”

Referring to the deaths of the children, he added in comments submitted to Christian Today: “Remember that often – as yesterday – those Muslims who do not share their extremist ideology are often their victims too.

Archbishop Ben Kwashi

Archbishop Ben Kwashi

“Boko Haram and their kind delight in massacres, slaughters, rape and murders – this is not the face of poverty, but the face of radical Islamist jihad. Many world governments are increasingly recognizing this global terror movement – from ISIS to Al Qaeda to Boko Haram.

“To hide behind the issues of poverty or corruption, which do not figure in extremist ideology, is a red herring. To do as this report has done is to put both Christians and non-extremist Muslims in jeopardy.”

He said that as a Christian bishop, he deplores the “poverty and corruption” of his country. But he added: “I wish those co-conspirators in the West would take their lion share of the blame for the stolen monies and disgraced leaders they harbor.

NigeriaChild“Further, I can attest that the Muslims of my childhood were certainly poorer than those of today, yet they never bought arms or slaughtered innocents. Poverty is real, corruption is global, complex and also real. But so is the global terror ideology of which Boko Haram is a practitioner, and the global terror network of which it is a part. It is both untrue and unhelpful to conflate and confuse these issues,” Archbishop Kwashi said.

Kwashi (born Amper Village in Plateau State, Nigeria 1955) is a Nigerian Anglican Archbishop. He is married to Gloria and the couple have six children, one of them is also a priest. They have 54 orphans living with them in Jos, Northern Nigeria according to Wikipedia. His father was a respected teacher and the family Christian.

Kwashi was ordained an Anglican priest in 1982. He went to serve in several rural and urban parishes. He also would be Rector of a Theological College. In 1987, his church and vicariate were totally burned during Muslim riots. He became the first bishop of the newly created Anglican Diocese of Jos in 1992. In 2008, he was consecrated Archbishop of Jos Province in the Church of Nigeria.

Before and after pictures of attacks on towns in Nigeria

Before and after pictures of attacks on towns in Nigeria

After a bombing in Potiskum killed forty Muslim schoolchildren, Kwashi said it was important that the issues of poverty, corruption, and extremist violence should not be conflated and confused.

Speaking Sunday in Tulsa at Church of the Holy Spirit Anglican, 12121 E 41st St. at 6 p.m. and Monday night at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church, 4001 E 101st St, Tulsa Archbishop Kwashi will speak as God may lead on issues of faith and the future of the people of Nigeria. Donations at both services will be welcome and be put to use in the ongoing outreach for victims of all faiths struck by violence in Nigeria.

Archbishop Ben Kwashi

Archbishop Ben Kwashi

Archbishop Kwashi has survived three attempts on his life and speaks first hand of God’s grace and power, in difficult situations. He has been personally targeted and his wife and son have been badly beaten. On that occasion Gloria was dragged through the streets to the diocesan offices which the attackers proceeded to ransack and rob. She was left blind until an operation in Texas later restored her sight.

As the family prepared to celebrate Gloria’s recovery, nearly 18 months later, four young men arrived to kill the Archbishop, who immediately fell to his knees to pray.

Man of God, we have come for you,” they said. “This is not the time for prayer.” They took him outside but stopped to negotiate the price of his life. One of them screamed, “I’ve changed my mind. Let’s take him back inside and kill him there.” It never happened. They took what money Gloria could find and disappeared into the night.