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Saturday, 3 February, 2001, 17:25 GMT
Archibishop visits Zamfara
Soldier stands in front of a burnt out building
Religious conflict in Nigeria has led to vicious riots
By Barnaby Phillips in Zamfara, Nigeria

The spiritual leader of the Anglican Church, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has expressed concerns about the rights of Christians living under Islamic law in the northern Nigerian state of Zamfara.

Ahmed Sani
Ahmed Sani: No compromise for Muslims on Sharia
Archbishop George Carey was speaking during an open discussion with the state's Muslim governor.

Archbishop Carey and Governor Ahmed Sani politely disagreed with each other during a discussion held in front of attentive onlookers in the state capital, Gusau.

The archbishop said he felt that Islamic legal punishments such as amputation and flogging were wrong.

For his part, Governor Sani called for a new definition of human rights that takes Islamic values into account.

Islamic revival

Zamfara has led the revival of Sharia or Islamic law in northern Nigeria.

On Saturday the small Christian community turned out in their hundreds to greet Archbishop Carey.

At a rally, one Christian told him that they are now being treated like second-class citizens, denied access to government jobs and land to build churches.

The archbishop says he is here to listen and learn, but he did raise these concerns with Governor Sani.

The governor denies the allegations, stressing that Christians have total freedom.

He says Muslims cannot compromise on the Sharia, which is fundamental to their beliefs.

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See also:

02 Feb 01 | Africa
Archbishop calls for tolerance
01 Mar 00 | Africa
Nigerian riots kill hundreds
20 Jan 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
Islamic law raises tension in Nigeria
24 Jan 01 | Africa
Obasanjo dissolves cabinet
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