Thursday, March 09, 2006

Was it the cartoons? cont'd

From ReliefWeb (March 9, 2006):
Nigeria: thousands displaced by religious cartoon riots

As many as 50,000 people were displaced and about 150 killed in a wave of sectarian violence across various Nigerian states at the end of February, sparked by protests over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, according to the Nigerian Red Cross. The majority of deaths occurred in the mainly Christian southeast city of Onitsha, where groups of armed youths attacked Muslim Hausa-speakers from the north in revenge for Christian Igbos killed some days earlier in the north of the country. Spiralling violence spread across at least six states, with thousands of IDPs taking refuge mainly in police and army barracks or churches -- although many later returned to their homes. Widespread destruction of property took place, with numerous churches, mosques and houses burned down. State governments in the affected areas dispatched police and army reinforcements and imposed curfews in an attempt to contain the situation. The Nigerian Red Cross provided principally emergency medical care to the IDPs. Nigeria has a multitude of religious, ethnic and political fault lines that periodically erupt into communal violence, creating a sizeable, albeit fluctuating internally displaced population -- particularly since the return of democracy in 1999. But while the introduction of Islamic Sharia law in a total of 12 of Nigeria's 36 states in recent years has caused tensions, conflict has been less over religion or ethnicity than over unequal access to land and other resources, especially between people considered indigenous to an area, and those regarded as settlers. [emphasis mine]
This report and others suggest caution in blaming the explosive violence in late February on traditional East-West culture struggles, and perhaps least of all on the cartoons. History is replete with tales of local land and power disputes transforming themselves into struggles over "religion."

Indeed, it leads me to wonder. Why would President Obasanjo propose legislation to ban gay marriage when it's already illegal to be gay?

1 comment:

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