THE PERSISTENCE OF RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE IN NORTHERN NIGERIA AND THE SEARCH FOR PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE

Religion has a powerful role in politics and public life in Nigeria. There’s persistent public suspicion that some Christian and Muslim leaders are promoting intolerance and driving intercommunal violence. It could be Christians accusing Muslim politicians of scheming to Islamize Nigeria by force, or Muslims suspecting vaccines are anti-Islam and designed to eliminate them.

This is the reality in Nigeria, and Gideon Pwakim used his book to discuss religious violence and peaceful co-existence in the northern part of Nigeria. The book is titled: THE PERSISTENCE OF RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE IN NORTHERN NIGERIA AND THE SEARCH FOR PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE (Available on Amazon kindle and in bookstores).

This theological dissertation is based on religious violence that has been going on for decades between Muslims and Christians in Northern Nigeria. In his work, Gideon Pwakim, the author asks about the causes of these conflicts as well as the reasons why there are violent clashes between Christians and Muslims in Northern Nigeria. The author analyzes the connection between religion, politics and violence in a sober and differentiated manner. In a theological-systematic part, he deals with the potential of interreligious dialogue as developed in the Catholic Church since the Second Vatican Council. In a social science section, he analyzes the results of his field research in Northern Nigeria and discusses experiences of religious violence, as described in interviews. In addition to the phenomena of religious fundamentalism, the precarious economic conditions, lack of education, injustice and crime as a result of poverty are also discussed. From a theological perspective, the author proposes a “theology of hospitality”; he highlights the process of reconciliation and the practice of hospitality in the Christian, Islamic and traditional African tradition and advocates taking responsibility for one another. In this way he shows both the potential of the Christian faith and the strength of interreligious dialogue and opens up a way with his interreligious theological study to constructively counter the religiously charged violence in Northern Nigeria.

Uni.Prof. DDr. Franz Gmainer-Pranz

University of Salzburg