This is what the Guardian Unlimited said today of Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams:
Dr Williams also criticised Archbishop Peter Akinola, leader of the largest single national church in the Anglican communion, in Nigeria, who has been accused of encouraging violence against Muslims during recent rioting by warning that Christian youth could retaliate against them. Dr Williams claimed the African primate had not made himself sufficiently clear: "He did not mean to stir up the violence ... I think he meant to issue a warning which certainly has been taken as a threat, an act of provocation."Since when is an excuse for behavior called "criticism"? I don't know how the Guardian managed to squeeze "criticism" of Akinola out of Williams' interview, but from what I can tell, the Archbishop is actually covering for Akinola:
Well, it couldn't be more measured than Williams' own words. Don't expect censure of Akinola -- on any count -- from any meaningful figure anytime soon. That'll have to wait until after the split, and when it does it will have to come from Western conservatives.
AR [Alan Rusbridger]: And what about Akinola and his troubling statements about Muslims (not being allowed to bear arms) which was followed by 80 people being macheted to death?
AC [Archbishop of Canterbury]: Hmmm. I think that what he - what he meant as, so to speak, an abstract warning, you know, "don't be provocative because in an unstable situation it's as likely the Christians will resort to violence as Muslims will." It was taken by some as, you know, open provocation, encouragement, a threat. I think I know him well enough to - to take his good faith on that, what he meant. He did not mean to stir up the violence that happened. He's a man who will speak very directly and immediately into crises. I think he meant to issue a warning, which certainly has been taken as a threat, an act of provocation. Others in the Nigerian church have, I think, found other ways of saying that which have been more measured.
UPDATE: 3/22/2006, 10:33 am. Some UK gay and lesbian activists are unsurprisingly outraged by ABC Williams' failure to react to Archbishop Akinola's endorsement of anti-gay legislation in Nigeria. They call Williams spineless. I tend to agree. But I reiterate: don't expect anything until the split is over. Even then, criticism of Akinola will have to come from Western conservatives.