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

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

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.
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