News / Africa

Nigerian Eid Feast Bridges Divides

Nigeria Muslims offer prayers during Eid al-Adha which marks the end of the holy month of Hajji in Lagos, Nigeria, Oct. 15, 2013.
Nigeria Muslims offer prayers during Eid al-Adha which marks the end of the holy month of Hajji in Lagos, Nigeria, Oct. 15, 2013.
Heather Murdock
On Eid al-Adha, Muslims slaughter an animal for their supper but most of the meat is required by Islam to be distributed to relatives, friends and the poor. 

In Kaduna, Nigeria, a city known for hostilities between Christians and Muslims, some clerics are celebrating the holiday and trying to bridge the divide by distributing the meat together to the disabled. 

At one residence, about 200 Muslims are dining on a cow, slaughtered properly by a Muslim for Eid al-Adha -- the sacrifice holiday -- and delivered by a Christian pastor.
 
All of the diners are either disabled or the children of the disabled. They live on a remote government compound in Kaduna with dirt floors and no sewers.  Ordinarily on this day, they would be on the streets begging.
 
Islam requires the wealthy to sacrifice animals on this holiday, and deliver at least a third of the meat to the poor.  Maryam Abubakar, one of the organizers of the feast, say the point is that no one should go hungry during the holidays.

“We want all these people to benefit from what we have," Maryam said. "It’s a privilege. Instead of us to stay at home to eat what we have alone, no we decide, let us come and share with them. Let them rejoice with us.”
 
For other organizers, delivering holiday food is not a religious obligation, but part of a larger plan to try to end sectarian violence.
 
Pastor Yohanna Buru says the best way to prevent violence between Muslims and Christians in the region is for leaders of both faiths to do charity work together.

“We want peace in northern Nigeria, in Nigeria, West Africa, Africa and the world entirely," he said.
 
Kaduna state has a long history of violence between Christians and Muslims, who have segregated their communities in the state capital, also Kaduna, mirroring the rest of the country, with mostly Christians in the south and mostly Muslims in the north.
 
Last year, nearly 100 people were killed in sectarian violence in Kaduna, sparked by triple church bombings that left nearly 20 others dead.  In 2011, more than 800 people were killed in fighting between Christians and Muslims after the presidential election.
 
However, analysts say the violence is not about religious differences.  In Nigeria, ethnic, political and religious lines are often the same and the fights are usually about political or economic differences, or sparked by insurgent attacks.
 
Holiday times are often the most tense, and large numbers of beggars come out to partake in the festivities.
 
Rilwanu Mohammed Abubakar, a former leader in Nigeria’s Persons with Disability organization, says besides fears of holiday violence at public festivals, feeding the poor in the compound prevents accidents like cars hitting polio victims who, without use of their legs, use makeshift skate boards to get around.

“Some of our members, most particularly the children, do have accidents as they normally go search for food when it is a celebration like this," he said.
 
But feeding the disabled in their home, he added, does have its drawbacks. 

Organizers brought enough food for 200 people, which is roughly the capacity of the building.  But in this city, where most people live in abject poverty, the disabled people are the poorest and organizers found hundreds more people living in the home than they expected.
 
Next time, they plan to bring enough food for a thousand.

Ibrahima Yakubu contributed to this report from Kaduna.

You May Like

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs