The biggest divide between African Muslims and Christians isn’t their religion

rtx143iw-e1483956070345In many countries across sub-Saharan Africa, Muslim and Christian communities coexist side by side. But a huge gap exists between them when it comes to educational attainment, with African Christians more than twice as likely to have formal schooling than their Muslim counterparts, a Pew Research Center study shows.

The study, which looked at the number of years of schooling both groups received based on age and gender, showed that 65% of Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa had no formal education—the highest anywhere in the world. By contrast, 30% of Christians in the region had not enrolled or completed any form or level of schooling.

The Pew findings drew on census and survey data from 151 countries—36 from sub-Saharan Africa—and analyzed educational levels among believers of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and the religiously unaffiliated. In 18 out of 27 countries with substantial Christian and Muslim populations in the region, Muslims trailed Christians by at least 10 percentage points. Nine countries had education data on Muslims only (Comoros, Gambia, Niger and Somalia) or Christians only (Cape Verde, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe).

Christianity and Islam are the two dominant religions in sub-Saharan Africa, together accounting for more than 93% of the population. Given the dropping child mortality and high fertility rates in the region, much of the worldwide growth of Islam and Christianity is expected to take place there in the coming decades. By 2050, for instance, four out of every 10 Christians in the world will live in sub-Saharan Africa.

FULL ARTICLE FROM QUARTZ 

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The hospital that unites Christians and Muslims

19796746801471598210TANGUIETA: “The coexistence among Christians and Muslims, here in Benin, is serene: I often say that, if the relationship between the faithful of these two religions was like this everywhere, we would not see the dramas that cause so much bloodshed in many areas of the world today!” These are the words of Brother Fiorenzo Priuli, 70 years old, a surgeon, and a beacon for thousands of patients in Africa; a WHO (World Health Organization) consultant for AIDS and infectious diseases, who was awarded the Legion of Honor by the President of the French Republic. Of himself, he says: “I am grateful to the Lord who has called me to collaborate with him in the wonderful work of treating those who suffer and protecting life.” For more than 40 years, he has lived in a small town in the north of the country, Tanguiéta, where he runs the St John of God Hospital, a centre of excellence in African medicine, founded in 1970 by the Hospitaller Order of the Brothers of St John of God, known as the Fatebenefratelli. At the time, it offered 82 beds; now there are 415.

The history of this great hospital, which has also become a university centre, speaks of the beautiful bond that is manifest between human beings of different religions when they share responsibility towards an injured human, and ally themselves, giving their best to lift up the lives that have been downtrodden by illness: strong ties that transcend the boundaries of states.

A common goal: Healthcare
The hospital physicians, including interns, number 25, while the paramedic and administrative staff consists of three hundred people. “Many are Muslim (such as my deputy in the operating room, who recently married a Catholic nurse) and the relationships between all of us are excellent,” says Bro Fiorenzo. “We work together day and night, driven by a common goal: to try to provide the best possible assistance to the thousands of patients who come here, often after facing long and exhausting journeys. Every year, we have 18,000-20,000 new patients (of which 5,000 are children) who come from neighbouring countries (Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria): 14,000 are hospitalized, while others receive outpatient care.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE HERALD, MALAYSIA ONLINE 

Ethiopia’s Christians mark Ramadan alongside Muslims

ethiopiaBy Seleshi Tessema

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

The sun had already sunk below the blood red horizon in Addis Ababa’s neighborhood of Semien Mazegaja as Jemal Ahmed and his wife Kebedech Aliyu prepared for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Sitting in their neat one-bedroom home with their year-old twins Ismael and Issac sleeping nearby, Jemal, a Muslim, and his Orthodox Christian wife Kebedech explained how their different faiths did not prevent them from honoring each other’s religions.

“Thanks God, we lead a happy and cheerful marriage,” Jemal, 31, told Anadolu Agency. “We are faithful to our beliefs and a marriage that made us one.”

Speaking in a soft voice, Jemal explained how he and Kebedech, 29, would fast and pray together during Ramadan. “I also accompany her in every religious event and Lent,” he added.

Their cross-religious marriage is reflected in their children’s names,” Jemal said. “Ismael and Issac are Christian and Muslim names so the kids will appeal to both religions and be what they would be.

“They are already Muslims, according to the teachings of Islam and our agreement.” Turning to his wife, he asked: “Is it not?”

“Hum,” she coughed and burst into merry laughter.

“This is a tradition in Ethiopia,” she said. “They have a religion that has accepted me wholeheartedly.”

In Ethiopia, which is home to one of the world’s oldest Christian communities, Sunni Muslims make up around 34 percent of the estimated population of 97 million.

According to Islamic scholar Ahmed Abdurrahman, Ramadan in Ethiopia has always been marked by interaction between Muslims and Christians.

“Here there is no segregation,” he said. “No Christian- or Muslim-only neighborhoods. We have lived as one single indispensably linked community ever since Islam arrived in Ethiopia.

FULL ARTICLE FROM AA.COM.TR 

Kenya honour for Muslim hero who protected Christian bus passengers

kenyaA Muslim teacher in Kenya who protected Christians on a bus after it was attacked by Islamist militants has been posthumously honoured for his bravery.

Salah Farah was shot in the attack in north-eastern Kenya in December and later died from his bullet wound.

The insurgents told the Muslims and Christians to split up but he was among Muslim passengers who refused to do so.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said he was awarding the Order Of The Grand Warrior to Mr Farah “for his act of courage”.

It is one of the country’s top honours and is awarded by the president for exemplary service to the country.

In previous attacks in the area, Somalia-based al-Shabab militants have killed Christians and spared Muslims.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE BBC NEWS 

Christian-Muslim dialogue ‘essential’ for peace: Pope in Kenya

Nairobi: Pope Francis told Christian and Muslim leaders in Kenya on Thursday that they have little choice but to engage in dialogue to guard against the “barbarous” Islamic extremist attacks that have struck Kenya recently, saying religious leaders must be “prophets of peace” in a world sown by hatred.

On his first full day in Africa, Pope Francis insisted that religion can never be used to justify violence and lamented that “all too often, young people are being radicalised in the name of religion to sow discord and fear, and to tear at the very fabric of our societies.”

He said interfaith dialogue isn’t a luxury or optional, but is simply “essential.”

Francis made the comments in a meeting with Kenyan Christian, Muslim and other faith leaders at the start of a busy day that will also see him celebrate Mass on a rain-soaked university campus and deliver a major environment speech to the UN regional headquarters in Nairobi.

Pope Francis. AP

On Friday, he heads to Uganda for the second leg of his first African pilgrimage.

Kenya, a former British colony is majority Christian, but Muslims represent about 10 per cent of the population.

In his remarks, Pope Francis referred explicitly to three recent attacks claimed by the Somalia-based al-Shabab extremist group, saying he knew well that the memories were still fresh in Kenya’s mind.

In April, the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack on a mostly Christian college in northeastern Kenya that left some 150 people dead.

A month earlier, Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for attacks in Mandera county on the Somali border in which 12 people died.

In September 2013, at least 67 people were killed in an attack by al-Shabab on the Westgate mall in Nairobi.

Al-Shabab opposes Kenya’s decision to send troops to Somalia to fight the group as part of an African Union force backing Somalia’s weak federal government.

“Here, I think of the importance of our common conviction that the God whom we seek to serve is a God of peace,” Francis said. “How important it is that we be seen as prophets of peace, peacemakers who invite others to live in peace, harmony and mutual respect.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM FIRSTPOST.COM

Niger’s Muslims and Christians join forces for peace

957069-NIGERIA-1442292319-728-640x480NIAMEY: Eight months after Muslims rioted in Niger at a cost of 10 lives and many burned churches, efforts are afoot to mend ties with the Christian minority in the west African country.

The rampage was triggered in January when radical Muslims angered by caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)in French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo killed 12 people in an assault on the magazine’s Paris offices.

In Niger, hundreds of Muslims took to the streets, clashing with police and razing 45 churches, five hotels, as well as bars and schools run by Christians. The French cultural centre in the second city, Zinder, was also set alight.

Read: Nigeria shuts down churches over noisy worship

Muslims make up about 98 percent of the 17 million population in the deeply poor, landlocked nation south of the Sahara. Until the riots, they lived in peace with the small Christian minority.

However, the threat of armed militant activity is present both in the north, where Niger is prey to al Qaeda-linked groups in the desert, and the south, which has been attacked by Boko Haram fundamentalists from neighbouring Nigeria.

Leaders of both faiths have been striving to restore strong community bonds by means of an inter-religious dialogue backed by a plan to “renew the value of living together” (REVE) funded by the European Union.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE 

Rise of the Muslim Bishop

2015_9$largeimg04_Sep_2015_000746270It was not for nothing that detractors called Archbishop Josiah Idowu Fearon of the Anglican Communion a Muslim Bishop: he is a bishop, no doubt; but obviously, he is not a Muslim, even though he knows the religion better than many Muslims.
Once His Grace was invited to one of those many unending Northern meetings to give a talk appropriate for the occasion. Given the choice of theme and topic, he chose what in the circumstance he considered was the most important one facing the peoples of the North – the disappearing unity, equality and essential oneness of its people. He chose to reunite them under God.

As he rose to begin his lecture in Transcorp Hilton’s Congress Hall, he raised his hands as if in prayer – and at that moment you could see it all: here was this unassuming, unpretentious and self-effacing tender of the vineyard who possessed nothing besides his ecclesiastical collar exuding such moral presence as dominated all that was before him.
He chose to give an exposition of the meaning of Surat at-Ikhlas, the 112th chapter of the Holy Quran.
Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim    

Qul huwallahu ahad

Allahus samad ….

Beginning as every Surah does – in the Name of God, and in anticipation of His mercy and grace, Bishop Fearon articulated the Quranic concepts of the unity and the uniqueness of God; and drew the attention of the audience especially to the implications of this for them. It was a long and meaningful talk; and here Fearon was the restorer of the Christian ethic and raison d’etre of love even in pain, and he was acting as a reminder to Muslims and enforcer of their forgotten duty of pan-Abrahamaic brotherhood and fellowship.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE DAILY TRUST