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Religion & Theology
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The Contested Relationship Between Catholicism and Islam in Nigeria (Essay Sample)

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I was required to research and read about the conflict between christians and muslims in nigeria. the client also wanted me to include sub-headings.

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The contested relationship between Catholicism and Islam in Nigeria
Nigeria is Africa’s largest country and the only country with an almost equal population of Christians and Muslims. The Muslims population dominates the northern side of Nigeria while the Christian Population occupies the Southern part of Nigeria. The Christian population represents 48% while the Muslims Population is 50% of the Nation’s population. The Christian population has grown tremendously over the years. As at independence, the Christian population was only 23%, and this number has increased to the current 48%. This increase is linked to the increased evangelism among the Christian community. The Muslim community, which has dominated the north, has also increased though not as much as the Christian community. By 1960, none of the religious communities had surpassed the 30% mark (Iwuchukwu and Marinus, 79).
Islam in Nigeria
Islamic religion in Nigeria represents the largest Muslim population in Africa and also in the country. The Muslim community comprises the Sunni, Shafi Madhhab as well as Shia, which is a minority community in Nigeria (Tajudeen et. Al, 49). Due to the Muslim domination in the Northern Nigeria, some of the states have introduced Sharia law into their legal systems. This has caused controversy, and most Christian clerics are against this. This is a source of conflict among the Muslim and Christians in Nigeria since the Christians are against Muslim controlled constitutions since they have different beliefs and practices.
Christians in Nigeria
The Christian population in Nigeria is experiencing tremendous growth since independence. The Christian population comprises the Protestants, Catholics and those still embodied in traditional Christian beliefs. They dominate the Southern part of Nigeria. This is because the Catholic missionaries who visited the country at the time of colonization concentrated on the south (Nyamnjoh and Francis, 235). The found Muslim colonizers had already dominated the northern part.
The Catholics represent a big portion of the Christian population in Nigeria. The Catholic faith has also experienced a fast growth rate in Nigeria as well as in other African countries. Statistics shows that Africa has 16% of World’s Catholic population. The Catholic population experienced tremendous growth of approximately 21% between 2005 and 2010. This increase in Catholic population has left many people speculating that the next people to succeed Pope Benedict XVI will come from Africa. Nigeria, Ghana and Congo lead in the number of Catholic population in Africa (Nyamnjoh and Francis, 235).
Conflict between the Catholics and Muslims in Nigeria
Due to the large size of the country, there are many people living in the country whom the Catholic and Muslim clerics complete winning. The vibrant Catholic movements competing with Muslims has escalated the level of conflict to higher levels, as both religions compete to win souls to their sides (Okoro, 104). This conflict has made the Vatican worried as extremists from both sides emerge.
The rapid increase of Muslims and Christians since independence has brought tension between the two religions. This has seen both sides rising against each other as they complete over who is superior to the other (Nyamnjoh and Francis, 235). According the Nigerian government, religious intolerance has claimed over 50, 000 deaths since the early 1990’s (Iwuchukwu and Marinus, 79). This was through religious uprisings with each religion having its share of extremists.
Despite the current conflicts, the West African country was initially formed based on interreligious cooperation. At the time of Independence, the North and South regions of Nigeria were united for a common good. The Leaders from both religious sides played an instrumental role information of the largest country in Africa (Iwuchukwu and Marinus, 79). However, with intensified religious activities to win over more souls, this unity is currently hanging in the balance.
The contented relationship between Islam and Christianity, particularly catholicism, has also played a role in the county’s leadership. The politicians have split the Nigerian population on the basis of religion and not tribal basis. The choice of who becomes the president is between the Muslims and Christian communities. In the Past national elections, the race was between a Muslim president and a Christian president. The 2007 elections attracted Olusegun Obasanjo, a Christian, and Umaru Yar Adua, a Muslim (Tajudeen et. Al, 49). The recent 2015 elections saw the Presidential race being completed by Jonathan Good luck, a Christian (Catholic), against Buhari, a Muslim.
The distinct geographical location of Muslims and Catholics has made the conflict even worse. The religious extremists born out of this conflict have been responsible for thousands of deaths in the country. The latest extremist group Boko Haram allied to the Islamic sides has carried out multiple attacks in the country. The group is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Christians in Nigeria (Okoro, 104).
The Islamic Extremist group is one of the many uprisings in the world mostly targeting the Christian populations. They carry attacks in Christian dominated areas including churches where women, children, and men are murdered by bombing, using grenades or even mass shooting...
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