Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Making Sure to Look beyond the Headlines

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Making Sure to Look beyond the Headlines

Article excerpt

IT'S a year ago that Chris McManus was killed in northern Nigeria at the age 28. Within a few days of his body being returned to this country, I was approached by Chris' family to carry out the funeral.

He had been kidnapped along with an Italian colleague, 47-year- old Franco Lamolinara, and then killed after ten months in captivity.

UK special forces, supported by the Nigerian army, tried to rescue them in an operation agreed to by Prime Minister, David Cameron. Sadly, those who attempted the rescue were to find that the two men had just been killed.

A group called, 'Al-Qaeda in the land beyond the Sahil', had claimed responsibility for the kidnapping but information about the captives' whereabouts was found when a Boko Haram stronghold had been raided in Kaduna.

Memories of Chris' funeral came flooding back to me in the last fortnight as two different groups of seven people were kidnapped, one in northern Nigeria and the other in Cameroon.

The first group has now reportedly been killed, almost a year to the day since Chris and Franco had their lives so cruelly taken from them. The other group, still presumed to be alive, includes four children and three adults, all from the same French family.

Again, rightly or wrongly, Islamist insurgents, associated with Boko Haram, have been accused of carrying out both sets of kidnappings.

The reports of these kidnappings hit the news only a few days before three terrorists from Birmingham were convicted in Woolwich Crown Court for plotting to kill masses of the British public.

If people already have a problem with Islam, it's only a small step, after such events, for them to become angrier with Muslims in general and more entrenched in their disrespect for the Islamic faith.

If we are not careful, the mere superficial reporting of these events can help to create an 'us and them' world. …

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