The Primate of the Church of the Lord, Aladura, Dr Rufus Ositelu, on Saturday, said the xenophobic attack on Nigerians and other African nationals in South Africa was “unchristian and wicked.”
In a statement issued on Saturday, the primate called on the council of churches in South Africa to publicly condemn the act, adding that xenophobia was clearly against the scriptures.
He said, “This is the time for the council of churches in South Africa to come out publicly and strongly to speak truth to power in South Africa. What is going on in South Africa right now is unchristian, wicked and clearly against the scriptures and position of Jesus Christ on how to treat strangers in our midst.
“The Bible says, ‘Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares (Heb. 13:2).’ Thus says the Lord, ‘Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor those who have been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident strangers, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place (Jer. 22:3).
“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him/her wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him/her as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt (where you fled to during apartheid).”
Ositelu said the South African Government was not doing enough to check xenophobic attacks.
The primate stated, “This is just to mention a few. The time is now to speak truth to power and let the South African government know that it is not doing enough against xenophobia in South Africa.
“May God grant the government of South Africa the knowledge and wisdom to do what is right under the present situation of hate against strangers in South Africa through Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour.
“May God comfort all those affected and grant the families of the bereaved the fortitude to bear the great loss. And may God change the heart of the wicked souls in South Africa and all other places where there is destruction of innocent souls and their properties in Jesus name.”
Meanwhile, Catholic Bishops in South Africa have dismissed claims by the South African government that the attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners in the former apartheid nation are not xenophobic as incorrect.
This was contained in a statement by Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of the Southern African Catholic Bishop’s Conference Office for Migrants and Refugees on Saturday.
Tlhagale said they were not happy with the attack on foreign nationals in South Africa.
He said, “Once again we received reports of the authorities doing very little to protect the victims. We received reports of police standing by idly in Pretoria while shops were being looted and people attacked. Not a single arrest was made on that day.
“Once again the authorities resort to the old explanation: that this is not xenophobia, but the work of criminal elements.
“Let us be absolutely clear – this is not an attempt by concerned South Africans to rid our cities of drug dealers. And this is not the work of a few criminal elements. It is xenophobia, plain and simple. If it was about drugs, why are South African drug dealers not being targeted as well? Are we really to believe that there are none? And why are drug addicts who rob people in our city centres to get money to buy drugs not being targeted? If it is the work of a few criminal elements, why are South African-owned businesses not being looted as well?”
He added, “The teaching of the Church is direct and uncompromising. More than 80 per cent of South Africans claim to be Christians. What are our religious leaders teaching the multitudes that fill our Churches every Sunday? Galatians 3:28 says, ‘There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus’.
“By the same token, there is neither South African nor Nigerian nor Ethiopian. We are all one in Christ Jesus.
“Let us take heed of this. We are facing a rising tide of hatred and intolerance, no different to the rising tide of hatred in Nazi Germany. If we do not take urgent actions to stop it, there will be nothing left.”
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