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Christians vs. Muslims in Nigeria: More Murder For God

More sad news in Nigeria as sectarian violence intensifies in Jos, a city that has suffered recurring cycles of murderous attacks and retribution between Christians and Muslims.

The FT reports that this week has seen 50 deaths and counting in the latest round of tit-for-tat violence. In this case, it looks like Christians sparked the cycle, and Muslims have responded in kind. The killing this time is still relatively restrained by Jos standards; hundreds and thousands have perished in outbreaks of communal religious violence in this border zone where Nigeria’s largely Christian south brushes up against the mostly Muslim north.

Identity politics are life and death here where control of state and local governments means access to limited services and oil revenues, and where the implementation of sharia law is essential for Muslims and unacceptable to Christians.

Expect more “holy” murder in Nigeria and across Africa where the frontier between the great monotheistic religions is already responsible for many conflicts.

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  • WigWag

    Forgive me, but I don’t get it. Just a few posts down from this one, Professor Mead described the form of Islam practiced in Nigeria, Somalia and Bangldesh as moderate.

    By what standard is the behavior of Islamists in Nigeria moderate?

    • Walter Russell Mead

      @wigwag; amazingly, not all Muslims are the same — and most Muslims in Nigeria reject groups like Boko Haram and most Nigerian Muslims have never been anywhere near a religious riot.

  • WigWag

    That’s good to know about Nigerian Muslims, Professor Mead. I wonder whether the same thing is true of average practitioners of Islam in Somalia. You’ve described them as “moderate.”

    I claim no special expertise about Islam in Somalia. My information on the subject is admittedly limited to what I’ve read in Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s books. She’s written extensively about typical Islamic practices in Somalia. Perhaps you will agree that she has a modicum of expertise on the subject.

    I am sure that your loyal readers would be interested in why you think Islam as practiced in Somalia is more “moderate” than she does.

    We do know what some of her critics think. In “Murder in Amsterdam Professor Buruma describes her as a “delicate African beauty” with a view of the enlightenment that reminds him of Jihad. His colleague, Timothy Garton Ash, comes right out and calls her an “enlightenment fundamentalist” who would never have been taken seriously if she wasn’t good looking. Both authors are audacious enough to liken her beliefs to the beliefs of the Jihadist who murdered Theo Van Gogh.

    Obviously I am not comparing your views, Professor Mead, to the views of your Bard colleague or Garton Ash. But if you have evidence of moderation in the practice of Islam in Somalia that Hirsi Ali is either suppressing or is unaware of, it would be good if you would share it with the readers of your blog.

    Glad to hear the good news though that there are so many moderate Muslims in Nigeria. It’s a shame that they are so reticent to try and influence their less moderate co-religionists.

  • Kris

    WRM: “most Nigerian Muslims have never been anywhere near a religious riot”

    You mean those Muslims whose ancestors have already driven out the infidels from amongst them? 🙂

  • WigWag

    Respectfully, Professor Mead, let me try to make one additional point. Your remark,

    “…amazingly, not all Muslims are the same — and most Muslims in Nigeria…have never been anywhere near a religious riot”

    is banal. It’s like saying not all fish are trout or not all ice cream is vanilla. But actually your remark is worse than banal; it’s a politically correct shibboleth.

    It’s really not all that “amazing” that not all Muslims are the same. For example, most Muslims in Egypt have never been anywhere near Tahrir Square. In fact, for all we know, most Muslims in Egypt may not have been all that hostile to the Egyptian regime. Yet it didn’t matter. If you don’t believe me; ask former President Mubarak how he is enjoying his new accommodations.

    In your post entitled “Persecution Spotlight” (a few down from this one) you make the point that Pakistan is treating the Ahmadi community terribly and you contrast Pakistan with states that still, at least temporarily, practice what you call a “moderate” form of Islam such as Nigeria, Somalia and Bangladesh.

    Amazingly, Professor Mead, most Pakistani Muslims have never been anywhere near an anti-Ahmadi pogrom.

    In light of this I think it’s perfectly reasonable to ponder how similar Pakistan and Nigeria are, not just how dissimilar they are.

  • ILoveJesus

    It is sad how so many people have been brainwashed for so many years about the Muslim religion and a self proclaimed prophet. Lack of democracy in a country creates oppression, suppression and control over everything a human does. Is not letting woman, drive, go to Church, go to school, use the internet, show their face the message of this Mohammad prophet ????? Shamefully sad is the Muslim basis of their beliefs created by a sick man that allowed the marriage and sex with under aged girls. Very Sick Indeed.

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