Religious War? Christians and Muslims Clash in Nigeria

Nigeria’s two major religions, Islam and Christianity, are sometimes depicted as monolithic entities that confront each other in pitched battles, with formal implementation of the criminal aspects of the Muslim shari’a legal code (or the likelihood of implementation) providing the spark that touches off violence.

Destroyed vehicles and debris is strewn across the road as police attempt to restore calm in the town of Jos, Nigeria ( AP )
Destroyed vehicles and debris is strewn across the road as police attempt to restore calm in the town of Jos, Nigeria ( AP )

On June 24, Nigeria was full of the blood of Christians as Muslim herders clashed with Christian farmers. Fulani herdsman, who are predominately Muslim, attacked six villages in Nigeria’s Plateau state. These villages are home to many Christians. Many of those killed were Christians, and they were reportedly hacked to death.

As a result of this violence, many people have been forced to leave their farms and villages or face the threat of a grisly death. President Muhammadu Buhari has deployed military and police units to stop the bloodshed.

He tweeted, “The grievous loss of lives and property arising from the killings in Plateau is painful and regrettable. My deepest condolences to the affected . We will not rest until all murderers and criminal elements and their sponsors are incapacitated and brought to justice.”

The fuel behind these recent clashes between the religious groups is due to dwindling water and pasture resources, a direct result of Nigeria’s rising population. The estimated number of people killed by these clashes just this year is around 500 with central Nigeria being the most affected as people fight over access to land, water, and food.

However, some Christian farmers were not content to sit idly after being attacked. Many of them led an attack of their own on Muslim villages. These deadly clashes are not just seen as a battle over scarce land and farming resources; but as a religious war between Christians and Muslims. Some are claiming that the president, who is of the Muslim faith, is not doing enough to protect Christian communities.

These sentiments were expressed by Bosun Emmanuel, a secretary of the National Christians Elders Forum and a prominent Nigerian Christian leader. During a recent forum, he expressed his views over the matter, “Realistically speaking, is on the brink of extinction in Nigeria. The ascendancy of Sharia ideology in Nigeria rings the death knell for the Nigerian Church.”

Boko Haram holds the title for the most well-known Islamic terrorist group in Africa. They have claimed responsibility for the many attacks on Christians homes and churches and currently, hold many young girls captive. Many people, the majority of whom are Christians, have lost their lives due to this terrorist group. Some estimate the death toll to be more than 20,000 since 2009.

Due to this threat that Nigerian Christians are facing, Emmanuel believes that Christianity will cease to exist in Nigeria 25 years from now.

“In 2018, we can say in 25 years from now, we are facing the risk of being the last Christians in Nigeria. Therefore, Christians should be in the frontline of defending democracy in Nigeria.”

In an effort to control these violent clashes, the governor of Plateau state has imposed a curfew of 18:00 pm to 06:00 am.

While many believe that these continuous killings of Christians might spell doom for the Christian faith in Nigeria, I firmly hold the belief that ’S true people will continue to stand, even in the face of death. I appeal to all Christians to pray for their fellow brothers and sisters in Nigeria.

Resources: CBN ‘The Death Knell for the Nigerian Church’: New Massacre Sparks Fear for Christians

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Stephanie JaftaRay Joseph CormierdavidgreybeardStephanie Jaftadavidgreybeard Recent comment authors
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davidgreybeard
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Sadly it is a religious war, the same one that was declared as jihad against all non-Muslims in the seventh century. The natural response of anyone attacked so savagely would be to strike back; I understand why the Nigerian Christians would attack in retaliation. But we as believers are also told that vengeance belongs to the Lord…God will always avenge us. Still, it’s hard to do nothing when you see your friends and family attacked…if someone walked into my church shooting people, I’d do everything in my power to stop them, may God forgive me. My prayer is that our… Read more »

Stephanie Jafta
Member
Stephanie Jafta

I know what you mean- I wouldn’t be able to stand by and watch harm come to my family either. As it is, I am in constant spiritual warfare against the witches in my community that seek the death of my family and I. It is all true insanity that is orchestrated by the devil and so many lives have been destroyed or taken by pointless acts of violence and terror. I, too, wait for Jesus’ second coming- that’s going to be one memorable moment!

Ray Joseph Cormier
Member

It is tragic there is so much violence in this world and what you report is tragic. Christians should not fear Death. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. I see this increasingly violent World… Read more »

Stephanie Jafta
Member
Stephanie Jafta

Yes, the devil is running rampant on the earth and is bringing fear into the lives of many- even Christians. Prophecy is being fulfilled before our very eyes and it’s scary when you do not understand that GOD is still in control. Yes, Satan is doing a great evil, but we already knew that he would go wacko in the Last Days. Praise GOD that he forewarned us of this. Thank you for the comment- I enjoyed the history as well.

davidgreybeard
Guest

Sadly it is a religious war, the same one that was declared as jihad against all non-Muslims in the seventh century. The natural response of anyone attacked so savagely would be to strike back; I understand why the Nigerian Christians would attack in retaliation. But we as believers are also told that vengeance belongs to the Lord…God will always avenge us. Still, it’s hard to do nothing when you see your friends and family attacked…if someone walked into my church shooting people, I’d do everything in my power to stop them, may God forgive me. My prayer is that our… Read more »

Stephanie Jafta
Guest
Stephanie Jafta

I know what you mean- I wouldn’t be able to stand by and watch harm come to my family either. As it is, I am in constant spiritual warfare against the witches in my community that seek the death of my family and I. It is all true insanity that is orchestrated by the devil and so many lives have been destroyed or taken by pointless acts of violence and terror. I, too, wait for Jesus’ second coming- that’s going to be one memorable moment!

Ray Joseph Cormier
Guest

It is tragic there is so much violence in this world and what you report is tragic. Christians should not fear Death. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. I see this increasingly violent World… Read more »

Stephanie Jafta
Guest
Stephanie Jafta

Yes, the devil is running rampant on the earth and is bringing fear into the lives of many- even Christians. Prophecy is being fulfilled before our very eyes and it’s scary when you do not understand that GOD is still in control. Yes, Satan is doing a great evil, but we already knew that he would go wacko in the Last Days. Praise GOD that he forewarned us of this. Thank you for the comment- I enjoyed the history as well.

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Written by Stephanie Jafta

I am a Freelance Writer living in a small coastal town in sunny South Africa. If I'm not working then you will probably find me with my nose buried in a book , taking walks to the beach or cooking and baking up a storm in the kitchen. I enjoy learning new languages and can speak 3.5 out of the 11 official languages of South Africa. I'm currently learning Spanish and French as I hope to travel to Spain, Latin America and Francophone countries in the future. Most importantly, I have been a born-again Christian for nearly 10 years and my walk with Jesus has been the most central aspect of my life.

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