It is no doubt that religion has caused a lot of war in Africa and the world at large. Why will my belief affect someone else's belief? Why should religion trigger a human to kill another human? Isn't religion designed to teach people how to live humanly?
Religion is the belief in God or gods. And the activities connected with this belief are praying, or worshipping in a building such as a church, mosque, or temple. It is often claimed that religion causes conflicts and war. It is sometimes true that beliefs can lead to clashes, and there have been many cases of wars that were caused by disputes over religion and beliefs.
Some years back, armed conflicts with religious overtones in countries like the Central African Republic, Nigeria, Somalia, and Mali have been on the rise in sub-Saharan Africa. A study by German academics says, "religious conflict in sub-Saharan Africa has been on the rise for decades."
It is commonly assumed that many conflicts caused by religion are due to religious discrimination. According to the RAS dataset( fox 2008, 2015), religious discrimination means constraints on religious practices such as worshipping, dress code, education, and conversion.
Religious violence in Nigeria refers to Muslim-Christian strife in modern Nigeria, which could be traced back to 1953. Today, religious violence in Nigeria is dominated by the Boko Haram insurgency, which aims to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria - allowing no room for Christianity or other religions.
In the 1980s, a serious outbreak between Christians and Muslims occurred in Kafanchan, Southern Kaduna state, a border area between two religious groups. The war was propagated by extreme leaders who were able to rally a young, educated group of individuals who feared that the nation would not be able to protect their religious group.
These calamitous activities in those times had led to the loss of lives and properties as the groups moved about destroying government facilities they saw as legacies or replicas of western cultures in their various communities. Because they believed that Christianity is a white man's religion.
There were clashes in October 1982 when the Muslim zealots in Kano were able to enforce their power in order to keep the Anglican house church from expanding. They saw it as a threat to the nearby mosque, even though the Anglican house had been there for forty years prior to the building of the mosque.
Many people believe Muslims are terrorists and are always behind every war, which in defense causes more war.
Islamic terrorism also radical Islamic terrorism refers to terrorist acts with religious motivations carried out by fundamental militant Islamists and Islamic extremists.
Though, it is somewhat true that some religious crises are propagated by an Islamic group. Incidents and fatalities from the Islamic terrorism have been concentrated in eight Muslim countries (Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, and Syria), while four Islamic extremist groups (Islamic State, Boko Haram, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda) were responsible for 74 percent of all deaths from terrorism in 2015 alone.
But does this mean other religions are not faulty? Does it mean Muslims are not innocent in some cases?
Effects of Religious crisis
During violent religious crises, many people are killed, maimed, or wounded. Hundreds of churches, mosques, hotels, and other related businesses as well as vehicles, private homes, and schools are destroyed. There is also widespread disruption of economic activities with effects on productivity.
A crisis of faith is a painful experience in one's life when he or she begins to doubt his or her beliefs, causing grief and confusion for the individual, as well as a sense of disconnection from God.
Religious crises affect personal lives, families, livelihood, and every neighbour's life. Crises in Nigeria particularly, religious crises have affected the growth and development of communities and people in particular and the economy in general. Many lives have been cut short, properties worth millions of naira destroyed innocent Nigerians displaced and turned into refugees in their father's land. These are not what humans should be suffering from.
Ways to prevent religious conflicts
● There should be public enlightenment on the danger of religious crisis
● Understand what constitutes religious discrimination
● Create good hiring policies
● Establish a zero-tolerance policy against religious harassment and discrimination
● Provide accommodations for religious expression or beliefs where it does not create an undue hardship
● Avoid claims of retaliation
Religious concepts of redemption and forgiveness underpin key post-conflict reconciliation efforts, providing resources to help societies heal the shattering consequences of war. Interfaith protests often focus attention on peaceful forms of resistance to oppress oppression and injustice.
The bottom line is "let's not fight, let's not quarrel over beliefs. Let's be united as we grow together to make the world better for all".
Religious Crisis is never a solution to clashes!