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

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Goodbye Ketchup, Hello Sriracha!

    How immigrants are triggering a great transformation in American cuisine

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora