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ICC Note

One German academic is saying that religious conflict is on the rise in Africa. He believes that this is because of weak African governments, very diverse populations, and radical Islamic groups from Northern Africa and the Middle East. All of the factors are adding fuel to an already hot fire. Though religious violence and conflict have been around forever in Africa, the addition of Globalization and several of the world’s most active terrorist groups has made the continent see greater and greater division and conflict. 


2017-09-25 Africa (AllAfrica) A study by a German academic says religious conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa have been on the rise for decades. Researcher Matthias Basedau says weak African states are a major cause.

In your study on the subject of religious conflicts in Africa, you claim eight out of ten active armed conflicts have a religious dimension. Why are countries in sub-Saharan Africa so vulnerable to this kind of conflict?

Conflicts that have a religious dimension are becoming more common worldwide and sub-Saharan Africa is no exception. The region is generally vulnerable to conflicts because many states in sub-Saharan Africa are often weak. It also has to do with the fact that religious conflicts spill over from North Africa and the Middle East; either directly from Libya or Algeria or indirectly through the spread of more radical versions of Islam. However, religion is only one aspect of these conflicts – they can also be ethnic conflicts, or conflicts over power or resources. There is no conflict based purely on religion.

You also mentioned in your study that countries with a heterogeneous population and religious communities are particularly susceptible to religious conflicts. Somalia is one of the most unstable countries in Africa; it is also one of the most religiously homogenous countries on the continent. In Nigeria the Boko Haram Islamists also frequently attack Muslims. How do you explain this phenomenon?



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