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Extremism Sources of Nigerian Trouble

ICC Note

Islamic extremism is the root cause of religious violence against Christians in Nigeria .

01/24/2010 Nigeria (Daily Nation)-A group of Christian clerics in Nigeria have described last week’s violence in the country as part of global terrorism. That’s dodging the issue, it is the failure of political and religious leadership and most countries’ attitude toward religious education.

The clerics were explaining the violence that erupted a week yesterday in Jos, a town in the in the middle belt that divides predominantly Muslim north and Christian, hackneyed, animist south.

Media reports say up to 300 people—Christians and Muslims—died before authorities restored order, for the time being, of course. This is so because violence between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria isn’t new. The latest spate in Jos, for example, is fourth in a decade.

This Day newspaper reported one reverend as saying the pattern of previous violence in the Plateau State fit the “pattern of global terrorism.” That’s a reference to Muslim jihadists, or extremists.

Generally, political life in Nigeria revolves on balancing northern and southern interests. Demographic reasons make the north predominantly Muslim, a sizeable chunk in the country’s population of 140 million. Inevitably, the rest of the country, Christian or not, gangs up. Politics acquires religious overtones.

Rather than tell followers it isn’t necessarily so, politicians and religious leaders ride on the overtones. This only intensifies the feeling of “them” and “us.” Nigeria ’s official policy of “settlers” and “indigenes” only adds explosives to fuel by providing privileges to different groups.

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