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

Ukraine: Russian Forces Tightening Grip on East

And new United Nations report documents human rights abuses committed by both sides in conflict More

Locust Swarms Fill Antananarivo Skies

FAO-led control efforts halted plague More

South Africa’s Plan to Move Rhinos May Not Stop Poaching

Experts say international coordination needed to follow the money trail and bring down rhino horn kingpins 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.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid