Reading Nigeria’s Christian-Muslim Violence

Recently over 500 Catholics died at the hands of a Muslim mob in Northern Nigeria. It would be easy to understand the killings simply as an expression of a wider Muslim intolerance of Christians. But comment by local Catholic bishops suggested a broader context.

The Bishop of Jos, where the massacre took place, situated it in a struggle between Muslims and Christians over which religion was more powerful. The Archbishop of Abuja spoke of wider social, economic and tribal roots. In communal fighting in January, too, many people had been killed, the majority Muslim. The present violence may have been planned as a revenge attack, both tribal and religious in character.


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