Saturday, December 06, 2008

Religious Violence in Nigeria

... has been simmering since 2001, but is on a recent, and troubling, upswing.  The population is 50% Muslim and 40% Christian.  From Time:

Ibrahim Saleh Hassan did not get angry as he watched his home looted and burned down by an angry mob, or when he when he found out later that all 31 vehicles at his car dealership had been torched. His anger finally did come when he realized that his seven year-old son had seen the mob kill the family's four dogs before the child's eyes. Hassan now wonders what will become of their once peaceful, ethnically and religiously mixed city. "My fear is that they will put us behind walls and segregate us like in Beirut and other places," Hassan said.

The article, by Will Connors, goes on to suggest that, although facts are sparse, it appears very strongly that thugs are being paid and armed by political partisans in a deliberate effort to stir up religious hatred.  Welcome to the 21st century -- we will see a lot more of this before we are done.

Two thoughts on the situation.  First, anybody who does not own Philip Jenkins' The Next Christendom ought to consider buying a copy.  While deeply flawed (as by an apparent lack of any firsthand research), it is a useful guide to emerging demographics of religious conflict, especially in Africa and Asia.  Second, for the dissident Episcopal "bishops" supported by Nigerian Abp. Akinola:  is this really the kind of religious milieu you want to emulate?  We're just asking.

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