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Conflict-Free Nigeria — Keeping Our Religious At Home

April 18, 2012

Numerous causes are attributed to the decades long conflict in the Africa’s giant—from corrupt governance and poverty to ethnicism and joblessness. But, one of the major causes that keep the Nigeria’s conflict fanning, to my humble opinion, is religion. Save your breath, theists, I am not some anti-theists who wants to crush religion; I am a theist myself and a Muslim one at that. Religion is a big business to us. It’s our worldview, the moral source of our life, and the faith of not only our past life, but our present and spiritual life.

In a hefty country like Nigeria, with a hundred and sixty million population, divided across religious borders: the Muslim North and the Christian South; the nerves of conflict are more tensing in consequence of our raging religious sentimentality. We simply can’t conceal our differences and while “clash” of differences is inevitable everywhere, Nigerians spread it anywhere.

You can hardly visit a website, with comment section at the bottom, without seeing some furious emotional and sentimental explosions on it. Some couple of days ago, while reading on the comment section of Vanguard Newspaper on line on the topic of Boko Haram, I came across this type of sentiments between a Muslim and a Christian. “Evil Muslims” the Christian commentator denotes. “Crush Islam and you crush Boko Haram” he concludes. “Oh! Look at this Christian missionary” the Muslim opens his line in preparation to strike back. “How ignorant you are? Boko Haram kills Muslims too. A Muslim doesn’t kill ‘cus Islam didn’t say so”. This sort of religious sentiment is not helping, and as religion adherents living in a multi-ethnic society, this is not what we need to survive as a nation.

Why are we using our religion as an act of war? God didn’t give us religion to attack each other. Religion is a moral obligation to humanity that teaches the differences between right and wrong. God unified us in one single world in peace and harmony, and there is no reason for us to fight ourselves simply because we differ in our beliefs. Differences in beliefs and faiths aren’t a big deal. Yes! They are not! A Muslim should practice his/her religion privately, no problem. A Christian should practice his/her religion privately, no problem. Where problem lies is in a situation where we try to discuss our differences in the public square. We need no religious discusses in our public lives because it’s sensitive, and because the second we started discussing it, our emotions will stir and the bloodshed will began.

Nigeria is bigger than that; it needs no dogma to thrive. What our country needs is our collective unity and patriotism. The increasing tension of terrorism and violence in our nation today, by Boko Haram, is an acid test for our survival. While the nature of their violence is sophisticated, their sentiment is lethal with clear misrepresentation of a religion that denounces wholly their vile acts.

This country needs love, and mutual understanding for it to move out from its gutters. And there are no magic answers here. There, instead, must be the need for us to change our worldview. Our beliefs are with the Creator—the one and only God, Yahweh or Allah—and not with the created beings. To respect our belief systems therefore, is to respect our first commandment: “to love our neighbors as we love ourselves”. A country in despair like Nigeria needs unity and peace and comprise in identifying its priorities and in meeting them. Prayer is a good platform to achieve this; but its practices and results are best done in our homes and places of worship rather than preaching conflict in public.


From → Opinion

  1. Hi, this is a comment.
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  2. Catholic Glasses permalink

    If your faith isn’t integrated with your public life, what good is it to you? I am Roman Catholic, first. Citizen second. Obama is a knuckle head. He has waged War on Roman Catholics and the Unborn and Women, and Men. He’s bisexual you know. I am all for peace, but not at the expense of sidelining religion. Thanks but no thanks. I do not follow a blind lead.

    • sohyb permalink

      I think you misread the write-up.

      I was talking about separating “religious discusses” from the public square NOT dumping it wholly out of our lives. I’m a theist too, as I mention from the start of the article, but I’d rather keep my religion in the closet between me and the God on whom I believe, rather than making a SHOW of it in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country like Nigeria. And hey, I’m talking in the contex of my country — Nigeria.

      Thank you.

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