Nigeria: Kaduna – How Easter Bombing United Christians, Muslims

The Easter Sunday Bombing in Kaduna State has come and gone, leaving the relatives and families of those who either died or sustained injuries in the blast in pains and agony.

The explosion has no doubt created vacuums in some families that can never be filled. MIDAT JOSEPH and ISAIAH BENJAMIN periscope how this bombing that claimed the lives of many and injured scores, brought about unity between Christians and Muslims in the state.

Sunday, April 8, 2012 will no doubt remain indelible in the minds of many residents of Kaduna metropolis. This is because; the day marked yet another historic day in the state, though on the negative, as many who woke up to enjoy free day, were left with pains, and agony over the death of their loved ones. No thanks to whoever must have perpetrated such a dastardly act.

Like every other festive period, the Easter period is a period in which the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is being celebrated by the Christian faithful all over the world, but that of Kaduna residents was cut short as the entire state was thrown into confusion at the news of the bomb blast that claimed lives of persons whose authentic figure is yet to be ascertained.

Some of the affected persons woke up to commence their daily activities with others rushing to their places of worship, when they met their untimely death, Muslims and Christians alike.

Although the bomb blast was painful, it however, brought out a positive side of the situation as both Muslims and Christians were united against the act as they all moved to assist victims of the blast regardless of their religious differences.

Not only that, a day after the explosion, a group of Muslim and Christian youths hurriedly condemned the blast, saying “no good Christian or Muslim would want to kill people unjustly”, as the Muslim youths hosted their Christian counterparts to a feast to commemorate this year’s Easter celebration.



Coming Closer Through Faith: A Call to Undo Historical Tragedies

By Idris Tawfiq – The Egyptian Gazette 
Saturday, April 14, 2012 09:25:57 AM

Muslims believe that Islam is the religion of peace. The two fought one another for centuries over Jerusalem, the city of Peace. Much life was lost and many terrible things were done in the Holy Land, and after much fighting and bloodshed not much had really changed in the region when the dust finally settled. In fact, for all they achieved, the Crusades need never really have been fought at all!
It is worth remembering that Christians and Muslims have lived together in this region for fourteen hundred years. It is true, though, that there are hands at work trying to cause division between these groups. It is only natural that those who do not want Egypt and other Arab countries to be strong should do their best to weaken them. What better way of doing this than to stir up religious strife.
There are even some Arabs who travel abroad and appear on Western TV channels talking of religious oppression, and even religious persecution. It is time that these voices stopped their mischief, since the only ones to gain by it are people with no faith at all.  Let us return to the Easter festival. According to tradition, Saint Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, is alleged to have discovered, in the early fourth century, many sites associated with the life of Jesus Christ, including what was claimed to be the True Cross on which he died.

The emperor ordered churches to be built on many of these sites. A church was built in Bethlehem over the spot alleged to be the place where Jesus was born, and another in Jerusalem over the spot where he is said, according to Christian tradition, to have died.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is said to stand on the very place where the Hill of Calvary stood. It is, of course, on Calvary that Christians believe Jesus was crucified.

The church was actually built as three separate churches, to mark three separate events.

One was for the hill of Calvary. Another was for the place where Jesus was buried, and the third was where he was said to have risen from the dead. When Constantine ordered that the churches be built, the spot was little more than a mound of rubble.


Will the Tragedy in Toulouse Unite France? Putting it into Perspective

Geneva, Switzerland – The assassination of French Muslim and Christian military personnel and French Jewish civilians two weeks ago in Toulouse and Montauban has rocked France. Yet beyond the fears that this act has stirred among both French Jews and their Muslim compatriots, the desire for co-existence prevails.

Many of us European Jews, confronted with the horror of children being murdered at a Jewish school, were above all rendered speechless. Images of World War II came to mind – images of soldiers pointing their guns at women carrying their children.

However, this is something else. It appears the primary motivation of Mohammed Merah, the Frenchman who claimed responsibility for the attacks, was not anti-Semitism, given that his first victims were French soldiers, Muslims and Christians. And the reason Merah gave for the murder of these French Jewish children – the suffering of Palestinian children – may only hide a deeper reasoning for this barbaric act.


Small, but Diverse, Korean Muslims Carry On

Shariq Saeed carries an unconventional status symbol with him everywhere he goes: a calloused indentation on his forehead. The weathered bump, called a zabiba, was caused by friction between his head and a prayer mat. Muslims are instructed to pray five times a day, and a zabiba is generally viewed as a sign of piety and devotion caused by deep, repeated bows.

Saeed is a nine-year resident of Seoul from Pakistan, and a practicing Muslim. The scar tissue on his forehead is evidence of dedication to his religion, a faith he brought with him to Korea, where he continues to worship among his fellow Muslims at Seoul Central Mosque in Itaewon, downtown Seoul.

Each Friday afternoon, Saeed is one of the worshippers who answer the call to prayer that rings out from Seoul Central Mosque.

Korea’s Muslim population, believed to number around 35,000, is far smaller than its large Christian and Buddhist populations, but Seoul Central Mosque is still filled with worshippers each week. The mosque is located near a popular nightlife area; worshippers walk past night clubs and transvestite bars on their way to prayers.

Muslims everywhere need to reconcile their faith with violent passages in its scripture and images of terror seen in media reports. “There is a true face of Islam, but it is not seen in the media,” Saeed said. “The true Islam is what we see around us here: brothers sharing in peace.”

Seoul Central Mosque is the largest mosque in Korea and was built in 1974 with petro dollar support from Saudi Arabia. On the mosque’s faded facade is letter in the graceful script of Arabic. Worshippers leave their shoes on the steep, wide staircase that leads to the prayer room.

The mosque is an imposing structure at the top of a hill. Flanked by twin minarets, the white building stands out in the grayness of Seoul. The area above the entrance is decorated with intricate blue tiles. The Islamic discouragement of the drawing of human figures, a restriction meant to prevent idolatry, led to creative use of tiles to decorate houses of worship.


The Islamist Dilemma

‘Islamist’ is one of those words journalists hate to use but can’t live without.

Recently, there’s been discussion within media organisations about whether to keep using the term, with some arguing it’s come to describe such a wide variety of groups, views and individuals that it really doesn’t mean much anymore. I agree. In fact I think we should dump the word ‘liberal’ too.

But as a Cairo-based correspondent heading towards the presidential elections, I must admit it left me stumped.

One of the more unfortunate side effects of the Egyptian revolution has been the increasing polarisation of the country.

Today, in post-Mubarak Egypt, you are either an Islamist or not.

The term has been overused (not just in Egypt but in the wider Middle East and Africa) yet we can’t do without it because that is what everything seems to boil down to these days.

Whether we are talking about presidential candidates, political parties or the members of the assembly writing the new constitution.

The sad thing is not only that it inserts a relatively new, sectarian dimension into our political lingo that will slowly creep its way into societal lingo … but also that it deflects us from discussing what really matters – issues, agendas, stances.

Rabab El Mahdy, a professor at Cairo’s American University, in a recent article described the process of selecting members to write the constitution: “The majority party presented a list clarifying the percentage of ‘Islamists’ and ‘non-Islamists’ and mentioning the names of Christians as if this were a sectarian battle … And everyone forgets that conducting the battle this way will not bestow a better constitution upon us but rather will entrench a sectarian nation and military rule.”


Nigerian Muslims Use Occasion of Easter to Urge Cooperation with Christians

The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has urged both Christians and Muslims in the country to collaborate with each other in tackling the menace of corruption.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Secretary-General NSCIA, Dr Lateef Adegbite, made available to newsmen in Abeokuta, on Thursday, and appealed to Christians and Muslims to seize the occasion of the Easter season to reflect on the situation of the country and also cultivate the values and virtues extolled by their religions.

He advised the adherents of the two religions to join forces with the nation’s leadership to tackle the issue of corruption.

“Let us seize the occasion of this season to reflect on the situation of our country and resolve to effect changes that would ensure real development and meaningful progress in the land.