Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Nigerian Jihad

I've been meaning to comment on Njadvara Musa's Yahoo News report, "At Least 15 Die in Nigeria Cartoon Protest," since it first came out on Sunday:
Nigerian Muslims protesting caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad attacked Christians and burned churches on Saturday, killing at least 15 people in the deadliest confrontation yet in the whirlwind of Muslim anger over the drawings.


[I]t was in Nigeria, where mutual suspicions between Christians and Muslims have led to thousands of deaths in recent years, that tensions boiled over into sectarian violence.

Thousands of rioters burned 15 churches in Maiduguri in a three-hour rampage before troops and police reinforcements restored order.


Chima Ezeoke, a Christian Maiduguri resident, said protesters attacked and looted shops owned by minority Christians, most of them with origins in the country's south.

"Most of the dead were Christians beaten to death on the streets by the rioters," Ezeoke said. Witnesses said three children and a priest were among those killed.
As with the cartoon protests throughout the world, this riot in Nigeria was instigated by Islamists for their own interests. In Nigeria, which is about evenly divided between Muslim and Christian, the Islamist long-term aim is to subjugate the Christian half of the population, and this riot as well as other recent ones there should be recognized as directed toward that goal.

About 15 years ago, when I was living in Tuebingen, Germany, I became acquainted with Daniel P. Bailey, who was doing his doctoral research on the meaning of "hilasterion" (i.e., "mercy seat"?) in Romans 3:25 and who had done mission work in Africa, using his expertise on the Greek text to help in Bible translations. We were discussing Muslim-Christian relations in Africa, and he mentioned the burning of churches in Nigeria. According to Dan, who had seen photographs of the burnt remains, hundreds of churches had been burned to the ground in coordinated attacks. I later spoke with a Catholic priest from Nigeria who confirmed what Dan had told me.

Since the time in the early 1990s that I spoke with Dan and the Catholic priest, Islamists in Nigeria have continued to persecute Christians in various ways, including the implementing of Islamic law (sharia). On this trend, see an article in The Globalist by Philip Jenkins, "Nigeria as a Global Trouble Spot," which also relates that:
In the words of the local Anglican bishop, "Life here is increasingly like living under a jihad."
Why is this happening? According to this article by Joseph Kenny, "The Spread of Islam in Nigeria: A Historical Survey," which was a paper presented at a Conference on Shari'a in Nigeria, hosted by the Spiritan Institute of Theology, Enugu, Nigeria, March 22-24, 2001:
The Shari'a cause, always supported by Saudi Arabia, has long been a convenient device to rally popular support for politicians of questionable character. But which popular support? Shari'a, understood in its most radical sense, has appealed to the young Muslim intelligentia, that is, university students and their academic leaders, many whom learned their ideas from studying in Saudi Arabia or going there on pilgrimage. It also has appealed to the unemployed urban poor who have been persuaded that it is the simple answer to their problems. Whipped up by religious fervour, they are willing to overlook the oppressive policies of their leaders once they don the mantle of a champion of Shari'a.
From this, one can see that the inspiration behind Islamism in Nigeria is the Wahabi Islam learned by Nigerian Muslims who have been educated in Saudi Arabia or gone on pilgrimage there. A similar point was also made to me by an older Muslim man from the Indonesian island of Java. Although he followed the older, more tolerant form of Javanese Islam, he noted that younger Muslims were increasingly influenced by Saudi Islam, which they had learned through education there or while on pilgrimage to Mecca.

This is not happening just in Nigeria, nor only in Nigeria and Indonesia, but throughout the Muslim world because of Saudi attempts to spread Wahabi Islam through education offered to non-Saudis, through indoctrination of Muslim pilgrims, and through the funding of mosques outside of Saudi Arabia. The Wahabi form of Islam quickly presses for sharia and engages in jihad against non-Muslims (or even 'impure' Muslims), with varying degrees of success.

As for the Islamists in Nigeria, perhaps they should look at the conflict in Darfur, in Sudan, to see what they themselves could one day experience if they discover that being Muslim might not be considered quite good enough.


At 6:03 AM, Anonymous Mujahid An Najeriy said...

These words steaming with their suffocating odour trickling from the prejudiced mind are words of Devil-incanate. It is unimaginable to think that a pilgrime in his short rigourous days of worship in Saudi Arabia could have time to sit and be programmed with any idea other than something related to pilgrimage ritual for which he travel to the place. Mind what you say.

At 6:10 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

"Mind what you say."

That's hard to do when I'm a "Devil-incarnate." But I'm pleased to see that your own words are so utterly under your control.

Jeffery Hodges

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