News / Africa

Nigeria's Religious Leaders Work to Stop Violence

Nigerian Religious Leaders Work to Stop Sectarian Violence in Northi
|| 0:00:00
X
Anne Look
June 02, 2012 4:54 PM
Sectarian violence in Nigeria's volatile Middle Belt region has killed hundreds in recent years, and many fear that attacks by Islamic extremists in the north could ignite lingering tensions. However, Muslim and Christian religious leaders in the northern city of Kaduna are coming together to head off violence. VOA's Anne Look has this report from a recent trip to the area.

Nigerian Religious Leaders Work to Stop Sectarian Violence in North

Anne Look
KADUNA, Nigeria - Sectarian violence in Nigeria's volatile Middle Belt region has killed hundreds in recent years, and many fear that attacks by Islamic extremists in the north could ignite lingering tensions. However, Muslim and Christian religious leaders in the northern city of Kaduna are coming together to head off violence.

Kaduna, much like the Nigerian state itself, is divided into a mainly Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south.  In April 2011, post-election riots in Kaduna state descended into religious violence that left almost 700 people dead.  Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the south, had defeated a northern Muslim opposition figure for the presidency.  There were allegations of vote rigging.  Muslims attacked Christians, whom they believed had supported the winning candidate.  Christians retaliated against Muslims in southern Kaduna state.  

More than a year later, 1,200 Muslim refugees are still living at this camp site in Kaduna city.  They are mostly women and children, since many of the men were killed.

Binta Usman says a mob attacked her and her son in Zonkwa village.  They doused him in gasoline and set him on fire.  

"I will never show any good things to a Christian again.  I will never be happy with any Christians.  I will continue having an angry, sad mind with a Christian person," said Usman.

Yet, religious leaders say progress is being made.  Kaduna's Interfaith Mediation Center says two million viewers tune in for its weekly talk show.  In a recent edition Imam Muhammed Ashafa, focused on the sanctity of human life.

"It is unacceptable in Islam.  You can never commit an atrocity.  Anyone who would kill a non-Muslim, or even kill an animal, he will never enter paradise," said Ashafa. "That is the teaching of Islam."

Imam Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye have collaborated on conflict prevention for more than a decade.

Pastor Wuye said death tolls have been celebrated like points in a sporting match.

"It is not a game.  It is an issue of forgiveness so we should stop it where it is now.  Let's not say we must retaliate before it stops because when we retaliate, some will retaliate again and the cycle of violence will continue, God forbid, forever," said Wuye.

Unemployment in the area opens the youth up to becoming hoodlums-for-hire, but after last year's violence, young men like Francis Frank say they are wising up to being used by the political elite.

"There is a kind of consensus," said Frank.  "When the thing happened, when the youths now find out that, man, we are killing ourselves and these people are up there enjoying themselves."

Muslim and Christian youth groups in Kaduna have joined forces, and have succeeded in calming tensions when problems arise.

When a car bomb exploded on a Kaduna street on Easter Sunday, killing 40 people, rumors circulated that nearby churches had been the intended target.  Tempers began to rise.

A Christian youth leader at the scene went on local media to set the record straight.  

Most of the victims that day were Muslim.  No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing and the violence stopped there. There were no reprisals that day from either side.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Riot5000 from: Dalla
June 03, 2012 2:05 PM
Nigeria's religious leaders and stronmen are responsible for fueling this fire which is comsuming innocent people.
Even the so called president is AFRAID of fighting back.
Nigeria is a FARCE, a GEOGRAPHYCAL entity put together by BRITAIN to ensute that NO BLACK AFRICAN COUNTRY EVER moves out of the Dark ages.
The formula has worked magically over the years.
One warning though, WHAT GOES AROUND, COMES AROUND.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZeELnOiHAw


by: Lawrence Taiwo Owoeye from: Ibadan, Oyo State.
June 02, 2012 6:03 PM
I beleive Nigeria remain a great nation. we are good people.


by: thomas mecha
June 02, 2012 4:09 PM
Thank your for an article about one of so many positive and promising initiatives in Nigeria between Christian and Muslims. Normally news media is mentioning only the bad news, and is thus giving a false impression.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
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 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.

AppleAndroid