A Nigerian bishop argues that terrorist group Boko Haram is the result of the country's troubled history, and can be countered by seeking reconciliation between Christians and Muslims.
Christian Today reports that senior Catholic bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah recently spoke at Aid to the Church in Need conference where he said that Boko Haram was continuing on with Islam’s legacy in the country which was established “with the sword and blood, then slavery, subjugation and oppression.”
Christians have long been marginalized in Nigeria, the bishop said. However, he added that there is hope and that “a new wind is blowing today.”
"Boko Haram, in some respect, is the tip of the iceberg, the extreme manifestation of years of indoctrination hinging on negative propaganda against Christians and Christianity, demonizing their relationship with the West. Young Muslims have been fed on a steady diet of exhortations that Islam is superior to any other religion," Kukah said.
To counter this, he suggested making ways for Christians and Muslims to cooperate and build relationships.
"It is clear to me that if we create more spaces for young people to interact – especially at the college level – mutual trust between Christians and Muslims can be built up," he said.
Kukah said he has already taken steps toward this end himself by ensuring Muslims as well as Christians benefited from a scholarship fund for poor children. He added that he hopes to build a boarding school which will welcome students from all religious and ethnic backgrounds.
"I believe that when these children grow up together, they will learn to accommodate and accept one another; thus they will be able to make meaningful contributions to society – acting as citizens of Nigeria and not as religious bigots who have grown up up in isolated environments,” he said.
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Publication date: May 5, 2016