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

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

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