The head of Changing Attitude England, a group of Anglican Christians working for an inclusive church, has exposed a "shocking" act of anti-gay violence in Nigeria and called on the Church there to condemn it unequivocally.
"A shocking story of mob violence has emerged which almost culminated in the death of one of the leaders of the Changing Attitude Nigeria (CAN) group in Port Harcour," reports the group.
The violent attack is reported to have occurred in the context of the funeral ceremony being held for the sister of CAN leader Davis Mac-Iyalla, attended by six members of the Port Harcourt group on Thursday 20 March 2008.
The Changing Attitude Nigeria Port Harcourt leader who was the subject of the attack said: “I am in total shock and living in fear while feeling the pains I suffered in the hands of a mob group that attacked me at the Service of Songs for Davis’s late sister. While hymn singing was going on a muscular man walked up to me and asked me for a word outside the compound."
He continued: “The next thing I saw was a mob group who were there to attack me. They started slapping and punching me, kicked me on the ground and spat on me. I have never known fear like I knew when they were brutalizing me. I thought they were going to kill me there and then. While beating me they were shouting: ‘You notorious homosexual, you think can run away from us for your notorious group to cause more abomination in our land?’ Those who attacked me were well informed about us so I suspect an insider or one of the leaders of our Anglican church have hands in this attack.”
The Rev Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude England, said: “The attack on one of the CAN leaders in Port Harcourt is a terrifying indictment of the attitude of the Church of Nigeria to LGBT people."
He said he believed that "violence against LGBT people has been encouraged by Archbishop Peter Akinola and the leaders of the Church of Nigeria. They have attacked the presence of LGBT in church and society, and supported a bill which would reinforce prejudice against LGBT people."
Coward continued: “Changing Attitude calls on the Church of Nigeria to denounce violence against LGBT people. We challenge the leaders of the global south coalition to repent of their un-Biblical views which fuel prejudice against LGBT people in our Communion."
Davis Mac-Iyalla, Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria, learning of the attack, said: “Please hold the Port-Harcourt group in your prayers as we seek God's guidance on this ugly and sad period of testing in our life.”
The thugs who attacked the Port Harcourt leader told him they would "not rest" until they "silence you and any who join you to pollute the land with the abominable act of homosexuality. You are perverts who go around corrupting and inducting young people into our evil society. We will kill you and it will be a favour to the country. Nigeria will not contain you or any other person that practises homosexuality."