Nigeria: The Conflict Between Muslims and Christians Tabitha Williams SOC 315 Chad Goings June 27, 2011 Because the two cultures rarely live peacefully within one country, the conflict between the Muslims and the Christians has left the country split by two civilizations. Political, economic and ethnic rivalries often fuel violence between the two faiths. Christianity has a set of beliefs that causes its followers to live their life in a strict set way. It involves the teachings of Jesus Christ. Christians just like Muslims believe there is only one God.
Its followers believe that God sent his only begotten son to the earth. Whoever believes in him shall have life in heaven. Jesus Christ was born from a virgin mother Mary, she knew no man. An angel sent a message to Mary that she is chosen to have the son of God. He was raised and lived to show the world of God’s love and to preach God’s teachings. Because there was so much sin in the world, Jesus was sacrificed . He was crucified on a cross and died so that all who believed in him sins shall be washed away. All those who believe and live their lives according to his teachings shall have a place in heaven.
A Christian is someone who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ in their daily lives. They not only say they are Christians , but live by strict rules like Christians. They surround themselves with other followers and worship together. This is called fellowship. Christians uses the bible as a story of the past and teaching in which they all must live by Muslims just like Christians believe in only one God. They believe that God or Allah is the sole being in which you should dedicate your way of life to. Only through Allah may you be able to find peace in your life.
Muslims believe that there is only one Creator. Christian believes in God had a son Jesus Christ. The Muslims only believe in Allah. The principle is to not only believe in Allah but that everything you do constitutes your belief and worship in his teachings. Muslims have certain teachings that they use to have a strong hold on their faith. This is called the five pillars of Islam. This includes visiting Mecca, prayer , testimony, fasting and giving to charity part of your savings. These basic concepts are a guide to every aspect of your life, including business as well as private.
The Muslims usually follow the word literally. Just as the Christians have the Bible, Muslims have the Quran in which they get their teachings on the way you should live. When looking at the two religions, with all its differences, there are many similarities. The two religions are claimed to have come from the same family. The three prophets are the sons of Abraham. Muhammad from the eldest, Ishmael, and Moses and Jesus from Isaac. You would think with its teachings of faith and love and its close proximity that the two religions would get along.
Well that is simply not the case. In Nigeria a little less than half of the people are Christian, the other majority are Muslims. If you look at it, basically the Muslims and Christians are the two main religions. The two religions basically dominate the country. “The country is split between two cultures Islam and Christianity, displaying what is called intercivilizational disunity. ”(Roskin, 2011) The religions tend to group within themselves instead of embracing each other. They tend to stay amongst those like themselves in everything including government.
It is not a hate that these two religions share it is a belief that their version of the bible and Koran is correct. It is their God or Allah that is the true and only God and the other is wrong. With both believing the other is right and both living in Nigeria, there is a constant rivalry . In Nigeria there were other religions before the Europeans came along and introduced Christianity. There were many people and different cultures. Islam was introduced to Nigeria before Christianity. Both have thrived and fought to be the main religion. “Nigeria is ethnically fragmented. (Roskin, 2011)There are many different ethnic groups in the country. The Muslim religion is considered by many to be the true religion of Nigeria. The Muslims believe in love of their fellow man. They do not discriminate with different nationalities or skin color. They believe their religion is the one that God or Allah truly values. The Muslim faith has no sense of discrimination whereas the Christian faith does. The Muslim faith believe that the Christian faith came to Nigeria with their slavery and disregard of people that are different.
In government, some Muslims do not agree with having a non-secular form . There is conflict over who’s going to control the export in the country In addition there’s concern over who’s going to have the money making deals that the people are in competition over such as government contracts, and financial services. The Christians started to become a threat when it came to economic interests. Nigeria is seen as a country that is split by two civilizations or cultures. According to Roskin, “Most of the coastal nations of West African have a Muslim interior and a Christian coastal region. (Roskin, 2011) Jos is the regional capital of Plateau State. This place is considered the midway point for Muslims and Christians. The two religions fight over the land there. The Christians feel as if the Muslims do not belong there. They feel the Muslims try to steal their property to get a higher political boost. The more land and property you have, the more advantage you have. There are many people in Nigeria that lives in poverty. Their way of life is less than desirable for any one. In that there is a high rate of criminal activity. There are people from all walks of life that commit crime.
Un expectantly you have those that are in the military that are in gangs. The poor living conditions and the high unemployment rate is leaving some of these people with no choice. They feel like the only way to feed themselves and their families is through robbery and a life of crime. They fight over who’s going to take control over what continuously. Muslims believe they are the true ones who belong in Africa, whereas the Christians just invaded and tried to take over. This situation reminds you of Mexico in a way. They too have a high crime rate due to poverty.
The difference here is the divide with religion. Rioting of the Christians and Muslims has been in the news lately. The Muslims have gone so far as massacred and killed many Christians over land and revenue. These outlaws have even gone as far as going to Christian homes to terrorize and kill them. They have even tried to force them out with weapons and intimidation. The militants target the Christians for any amount of success or victory. The Christians have endured many attacks on their churches, family and property lately. The religion is begging for help and protection.
Many times this goes unheard. The city has tried to fight back crime in some way. They incorporated a curfew for the people all must be in when the sun goes down and remain off the streets until the next morning. The security is authorize to impose this curfew and are allowed to shoot anyone on site that is causing trouble. Even with this entire attempt to control the violence in Nigeria, there is corruption with many of the government officials. Some people see corruption as a way of the poor getting back from the rich. There are many in positions that are suppose to help, but yet are hurting.
The police force is a prime example. There are many poor , under paid Muslims that are on the police force. When faced with the crimes in Nigeria against Christians, many authorities have done little to nothing to investigate or try to solve these horrendous crimes. No Christian is excuse. Women , children, old and young, individual and whole families are executed for the sake of their religion. These executions are usually brutal and horrific. Although Allah or God teaches love and respect for humankind, these lewd acts of violence is contradicting the idea of peace and harmony.
When these rebels commit these crimes for the sake of their religion, they believe they are justified. The Muslims believe that acting on the basis of God (or Allah) gives them the right to go above and beyond. After all, they believe that they are the true religion of Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Christianity is invading and eventually the people should come to Islam or face the consequences. Of course not all Muslims feel this way and not all those that live by the teachings of Islam resort to these drastic measures. Many are none violent and live a peaceful life. Many, but unfortunately not the majority.
Just as the Muslims are attacking the Christians, the Christians are also doing their fair share of killing Muslims. They are no different in committing mass murders of hundreds of men women and children. When the Christians kill Muslims, the Muslims tend to retaliate. Then the Christians hit back at the Muslims. It has been going back and forth in a vicious cycle. The people are still demanding justice. Because the two cultures rarely live peacefully within one country, the conflict between the Muslims and the Christians has left the country split by two civilizations. Political, economic and ethnic rivalries often fuel violence between he two faiths. The government has tried to help control the violence despite the corruption. The teachings of Christianity and Muslims are very similar. You suppose to live righteously with love and consideration for your fellow man. The two civilizations could come together as one if they decided to work together instead of against each other. I believe the country will flourish. If the prophets were the sons of Abraham, are we not all brothers and sisters? It really bewilders me as to why there is so much conflict in Nigeria when the teachings of God and Allah are love.
I believe that this conflict can be overcome if the people focus on the purpose why we are here. The idea is to walk in the Footsteps of God instead of making this world hell on earth for others. How is that honoring your religion? “ References Ferguson, N. (2006). The War of the World. In the Globalist. Retrieved June 27, 2011, from http://www. the Globalist. com. Roskin, M. G. (2011). Countries And Concepts Politics, Geography,Culture 11th edition. Longman Huda. (2011). Introduction to Islam. Retrieved June 26, 2011, from http://islam. about. com/od/basicbeliefs/p/intro. htm http://proquest. umi. com.