News / Africa

Nigerian Christians, Muslims Protest Against Common Enemy

Muslims pray while Christians form a protective human chain around them during a protest on common problems faced in Nigeria, January 10, 2012.
Muslims pray while Christians form a protective human chain around them during a protest on common problems faced in Nigeria, January 10, 2012.
Heather Murdock
In the Nigerian city of Kaduna, which is known for sectarian violence, Muslims and Christians  rallied together Friday against a common enemy: the anti-Islamic video that has sparked protests around the world.  Religious leaders say they hate the video, but they are hoping it can help heal decades of violence between the two groups. 

It’s been more than 10 years since the Kaduna neighborhood has seen violence between Muslims and Christians.  Locals say that’s because Christians stay away to avoid danger.  Muslims avoid other parts of the city for the same reasons.
 
Regardless, sectarian violence continues in many other parts of Kaduna, with nearly 100 people being killed in June.
 
But on Friday, religious leaders, both Christian and Muslim, marched together here, decrying a shared enemy and celebrating what they hope will be a step towards peace.
 
Abdulkareem Youssef, one of the organizers, says the issue hasn’t changed since mid-September when the protests erupted around the world after the YouTube release of a video, privately produced by an American, that desecrates Islam.
 
There was violence last month in Libya and Egypt, but protests in Nigeria have been peaceful.  Youssef says protesters want to tell the world not to release similar material or else there will be violence here. 

“We don’t want this to happen again.  Otherwise, we will not take it easily to whoever, whoever tries to sabotage our prophet,” he said.

Most of the hundreds of protesters Friday were Muslims, chanting praise in Arabic for God and the Prophet.  But Pastor Yohanna Buru is one of many Christian leaders who parked their cars in the normally Muslim-only neighborhood to march with the group, which was surrounded by dozens of armed guards.  

He says they joined the protest out of solidarity, because both groups are against materials offensive to either religion.
 
Anger over the video, he adds, has presented an opportunity for Muslims and Christians to re-establish ties.
 
Preventative protesting is also a factor, he says, urging Christians to condemn the video, lest some Muslims accuse them of supporting it, which could cause another round of violence.
 
“We are supporting this demonstration today because we know it will bring peace.  Because some of the Muslims, they don’t understand that we Christians are not supporting what they [the filmmakers] are doing,” stated Buru.

Kaduna is a “Middle Belt” city in the center of Nigeria and it's divided like the country as a whole, with mostly Muslims in the north and mostly Christians in the south.  
 
Human Rights Watch says nearly 16,000 people have been killed in political or sectarian violence in Nigeria since 1999, and much of the bloodshed has been in the Middle Belt.   Over 800 people were killed in Kaduna in 2010 alone.  
 
Sectarian violence here is usually about politics, resources or revenge but the fights are almost always along ethnic and religious fault lines.
 
Ibrahima Yakubu contributed to this report from Kaduna

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More