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Tragedy Of Religion In Nigeria
The mutual slaughter between Christians and Moslems in Nigeria, despite their sermons of love thy neighbor as you love yourself....etc., confirms that just now, the black people of Okebulani (Africa) have no true spirituality/religion. It breaks the heart to witness how these two foreign religions are tormenting Nigeria, twisting the hearts of the people with religious intolerance and mutual prejudices and bitterness.
It was in 1963 that the Governor of Northern Nigeria, Kashim Ibrahim, Visited Eastern Nigeria, and when asked by reporters at the Enugwu railway station, if it was possible for Muslims and Christians to worship together, he shouted, "No! Never"! Yet the facts of history reveal that if any two religions in the world should get along, Islam and Christianity would be the likely pair. Both religions are derivations from the same Jewish religion, Judaism. The heroes of both, Jesus and Mohammed are descendants of the same Jewish ancestor: Abraham. Islam acknowledges Abraham and Jesus as two principal early prophets. They all believe that Abraham was the father of the Faithful, and was the first Moslem. Islam accepts that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, performed great miracles, differing from the stories about the life history of Jesus in this small detail: that Islam believes that Jesus was not crucified but was instead taken away by God who left a shadow in his place--which is a common view held among Gnostics and others.
Wherever the Koran differs from the Old Testament of the Bible, Muslims Explain it as the corruption of the Biblical text by the Jews and Christians at the point of the difference. They both preach the same morals and social doctrines. Both religions are monotheistic, and believe in one Supreme Being.
Christianity and Islam are inextricably associated, and derive from Judaism--and should therefore have a feeling of brotherhood towards one another.
Let us, upon these facts of history, note in passing that the strained relationship now between the Arabs and the Israelis is not as much religious as it is political, and we demand that henceforth, Muslims in Nigeria should interact freely with Christians in Nigeria without one fearing that the other will bastardize it.
Enter Chiism. It is here that Chiism comes in with a new message for humanity--to call on all religions to practice what they preach, and live it. When you talk of religion and the masses, from the perspective of Chiism, what we should seek to know is what contribution our own original divine spirituality can make to the promotion of our relationship with nature and our fellow human--for when a religion/spirituality is an element of cohesion, of national unity, of resistance to an invader, of contact with the outside world, it is at the service of the people.
A religion can do all these and more if its structuring is right, its precepts rational, if it lives its sermon and is capable of adaptation to the culture of any community it permeates. In Chiism all these virtues are enwrapped, being spirituality wound around the person of Chineke, God the Creator.
It has not the inherent weakening prejudices of race, tribe, gender and nationality which beleaguer other religions from their morphologies and makes them flagrantly alien to communities outside their home of origin and therefore become forces of division rather than forces of cohesion.
This close relationship acknowledged between Judaism, Christianity and Islam has had as its chief effect the fact that Jews and Christians have been treated with special toleration in principle in Muslim countries. Islam and Christianity have a common idea on what shall happen in the end of life--they believe that there will be judgment, and heaven awaits the faithful, and hell, the infidel. On point of history, Jesus indeed was a Jew: Mohammed claimed he came as the last of the prophets of Israel.
Think of Islam insisting that the Supreme Chi, God, in Nigeria must be called Allah instead of Chineke, Olodumare; Ubangiji; Osanobuwa; Tamuna or Abasi Ke Inyong before you are regarded as a true Nigerian Muslim. To be a true Christian, you must call God Jehovah. This explains why there is so much acrimony and strife between these two religions, and how they can revolt local cultures, since they are agents of cultural alienation and of division.
And if you alienate a people from their culture, you render them either stupid, or violent. That is the tragedy of the on going religious strife in Nigeria where inter-related ethnic groups are slaughtering each other as glorified servants in the cultural vineyard of others.
From all indication, the call for, and implementation of the sharia law, an alien socio-religious culture with a negative and retrogressive social and economic implication, triggered this conflict that wasted so many lives. It is a lesson of history that any attempt to force people directly or indirectly to accept any particular faith, religious doctrine or method of God-worship rumples social harmony.
Because of this tragedy, all children of Africa hereby send an SOS to the Seriki Muslimi of Nigeria and the Chairman of the Catholic Bishops Council of Nigeria:
Our dear brothers in Chineke, an SOS.
The recent outburst of mutual killings between Christians and Muslims in Northern and Southern Nigeria has caused us all great grief, and we send this appeal to you to use your good offices to hold your Muslims and Christians back from further acts of violence so as to never allow the Sudan tragedy of Christian-Muslim religious war to happen in Nigeria. Please teach your followers that love is the highest religion. That any one that kills on the excuse of God-worship is no true believer. Teach your followers mutual understanding, mutual toleration and mutual respect for each other because the world trend now is toward harmonization. You can be whatever you want to be Christian or Muslim, but with a touch of the spiritual balance of Africa, live and let live, inherent in Chiism.