Why is Nigeria so backward
The two faces of the Sharia
Islamic criminal law and the cry for justice
The most important thing cannot be seen. The Koran is hidden in a pocket made of colored goatskin; it hangs on the wall of the courtroom, on a simple nail. Anyone who looks at the judge always looks at the bag.
There is a respectful silence in the hall. The audience is seated on wooden benches, separated by gender, men on the left, women on the right, a screen between them; only the judge sees everyone from his raised pedestal. The plates on the ceiling of the hall have holes, three rusty fans remain motionless, the files on the judge's table are handwritten.
This is an Islamic court, a Sharia Superior Court.
The cases that will be heard this morning tell of everyday life in Africa. Dispute over a piece of land, dispute over water in a village. Then a family quarrel: A young woman was forcibly married because of an inheritance matter, she defends herself, stands in bare-eyed shyness on the women's side of the courtroom, on the men's side her father, a skinny, poorly dressed evildoer. What all these cases have in common is that the plaintiff and defendant trust the colorful goatskin bag more than they do in a state court.
Sometimes the bag is taken off the nail. The last time it was two months ago, a man was charged with murder, the evidence was weak, the accused swore on the Koran that he was innocent. He swore several times, and whoever calls God so confidently to witness his innocence will be acquitted by a Sharia court.
This is the north of Nigeria. The region has become synonymous with fanaticism and archaic backwardness since the Islamic penal laws of Sharia were introduced here six years ago. In extreme cases, they threaten to be stoned and amputated. Sharia - the word alone creates instinctive defense in the West. For many Muslims in Nigeria, however, it is a word of hope: they associate it with justice and a clean judiciary.
This journey leads right into the dispute about values, about religion, about identity. A global front; Nigeria is a particularly confusing section of this, and sometimes a bloody one. After fighting between Muslims and Christians, more than a hundred dead were found in Nigeria's streets in the past few weeks. The anger over the caricaturing of the Prophet had fueled local conflicts like a fire accelerator.
In Nigeria, the largest black nation in the world, a good half of the population is Muslim, around 70 million. Africa's Islam is easily overlooked, with every second African being a Muslim, around 380 million people - more than in the Middle East.
A line runs across Nigeria; it is not drawn with a ruler, it has spikes and fringes, but it roughly divides the country into two halves, the predominantly Muslim north and the predominantly Christian south. A historical boundary where two imported religions met. Islam came to West Africa 700 years earlier, from the 11th century it traveled from the north with Arab traders on the caravan routes to the Sahel. The Christian missionaries later penetrated from the south through the tropical coastal belt with the British colonial rulers.
Today, north and south are united and separated at the same time by a superlative: in the north supposedly more people know the Koran by heart than in any other country in the world - and in the south there are said to be more candidates for priesthood than anywhere else.
In Lagos, the urban Moloch in the south, emphatic Christianity steams into the exhaust-blue air. There is hardly a hairdressing salon that does not have God in its name; the software store sells "Godsoft" instead of Microsoft, and anyone who owns a bucket and a windshield wiper calls their company "divine car wash".
Whether a Christian or a Muslim, whoever wants to become something in politics, God must speak on his lips. Religion and politics are entwined in this country that is so religious and so corrupt. And because the politicians often cheat all hopes, the deceived take refuge in God all the more passionately. -
It is the dry season in northern Nigeria. The air is gray and brown from the Harmattan, a sandy wind from the Sahara. The sky is beige, the fields brown, the giant trees without leaves. Now and then on the mud walls of a village, sticking to the ground like a flat fortress, brown on brown. Goats, sheep and cattle cross the road without a shepherd, sometimes a few camels.
A roadside school, an elementary school. Hardly any child has a textbook, and when asked what their greatest wish is, the teacher answers: More chalk! When class begins, he sends the oldest boy in the class to fetch yesterday's stub of chalk from safe custody. A stub of chalk is too valuable to leave unattended. Obscene poverty in a country whose upper class is sometimes caught abroad with suitcases full of bribes.
Four years ago, a woman was thrown out of the barren equanimity of this landscape, from one of the clay-brown villages, into the headlines of the world. Amina Lawal - the woman who should be stoned. A pregnant woman sentenced to death for sexual intercourse outside of marriage. Her picture went through the Western media, a veiled woman with big, sad eyes: the face of the Sharia.
The people in the village show the way to their house. Amina Lawal is prettier than in the old picture. She is 34 now, breastfeeding a baby. It comes from a new marriage, her second, but it broke again. This is the parents' house. On the wall of the tiny room hangs the face with the sad eyes in a large frame; it seems too big for the small space, like a photo of a distant star. Amina calls herself "the case", she wants to distance herself from the past, preferably not to talk about it at all. Once she says, as to herself: "I forgot what answers you give in interviews."
She lived with the death sentence for 18 months; then it was finally repealed in the third instance. Nigerian lawyers, women's rights activists and human rights groups had stood by Amina - both Muslim and Christian.
She received no compensation; she just stayed behind after the great wave passed over her. A woman with five children, the first she had at 14. Amina says quietly that she would like to have a little start-up capital, would like to open a shop and stand on her own two feet.
Everyday life has slackened through Nigeria's most famous justice victim, through her village, through the region. Six years have passed since the first state in northern Nigeria introduced Islamic criminal laws in January 2000; eleven other states quickly followed. Nobody has been stoned since then. Of the so-called corporal punishment, corporal punishment alone is more often carried out, as far as is known, only on men, mainly for alcohol consumption. The blows are meant to humiliate rather than hurt. If you try to speak to someone who has been chastened, a defensive ring of Muslim fraternity closes around him. The punishment was shameful enough, the perpetrator was shamed by asking questions, that would not be legal.
Try to understand a region.
Like millet, Islam is a staple food in northern Nigeria. Children grow into religious discipline at an early age, even little girls wear veils, little boys roll out tiny prayer rugs during Friday prayers, sometimes they kneel the wrong way round, so there is more to see. Old men chew on sticks because the Prophet did that; it should be good for the teeth. In Haussa, the main language of the north, there is no secular word for "please"; instead, they say: "Pay back to Allah!"
For nearly a thousand years, no intruder here has questioned the dominance of Islam, including the British colonial rulers. They found an old Islamic empire in northern Nigeria, the Sokoto Caliphate; they made a protectorate out of it and adhered to the principle: divide and rule! - out of almost anything. Because of their tactical alliance with the feudal emirs, the British even forbade Christian missionaries from entering the north. English and Western education only spread to the south - a cultural divide that still shapes Nigeria today.
The British also kept the Islamic penal laws in force until the middle of the 20th century, only forbidding stoning and mutilation. However, they put Sharia on a par with African customary law and animistic practices - northern Nigeria's Muslims would never forget this insult to their divine law.
Sharia means literally "way to the watering hole". In a desert culture, the watering hole means survival - the survival of a community, and it requires discipline. The idea may help to understand a highly complex legal structure of which the notorious punishments are only a tiny part Sharia, these are all regulations and recommendations for private as well as public life, from hygiene to commercial law. Its sources: First the Koran, which contains 500 verses, then the life practice of the Prophet, handed down in thousands of anecdotes and sayings; also the inference by analogy from these primary sources and finally the consensus of famous scholars when they had to decide issues.
In the end you are back at the watering point: in Islamic law, the community takes precedence over the individual, and welfare precedes freedom. For people who have to guard a stub of chalk, this is an attractive idea.
And so a religious-social movement rolled through twelve states in the north, which local intellectuals in retrospect call "the Sharia revolution". In the first state the idea came from above, from an ambitious governor; after that the spirit was out of the bottle , seized the poor like a promise of salvation. Sharia would free them from the worst Nigerian plagues, corruption and abuse of office. The judges would henceforth be incorruptible, the big thieves would drop their suitcases of money, and no one would suffer hardship because the rich would for care for the poor - isn't that what the Koran says?
That was the hope. Hope was the other face of Sharia; one that we can understand better.
But hope was betrayed. The new laws hit the common people most of all. The modest property of Amina Lawal's parents is a symbolic place for this: A Koran school, Amina's father teaches a dozen children here, and lives on donations. Amina has been going to her father's school since she could walk. The daughter of a Koran teacher is the most famous sharia victim - a bitter irony. The first two perpetrators to have a hand amputated for theft were a cow thief and a bicycle thief.
Sloppily drafted laws, ignorant judges, power-hungry politicians, fanatical religious scholars - that was the evil recipe for a series of draconian and erroneous judgments in the first two Sharia years. Most of the time they were lifted later - or the sentences were not carried out. Dozens of Nigerians condemned to mutilation for theft have been imprisoned for years; some are now pardoned.
Over the centuries of Islamic history, stoning and amputation have been used relatively little. Both punishments serve primarily as a deterrent; therefore the demands on evidence and witnesses are set almost unattainably high. To maintain the balance between sharpness and gentleness, to master the art of procedural rules, Nigeria's Kadis lacked legal knowledge - and religious heart formation.
Perhaps a typical phenomenon: the nostalgic look back at the golden times of Islam tempts one to bring instruments from the past into the present. But the finesse of using them has been lost to today's Muslims.
"Many of our scholars have a fossil relationship with life," says journalist Bilkisu Yusuf. "They do not understand how to apply the teachings from the time of the Prophet in such a way that a progressive Islamic society emerges. They ignore the burning needs of the people." The 53-year-old Bilkisu herself comes from a family of Islamic teachers; until recently she headed Nigeria's Muslim Women's Association. The eloquent and elegant activist embodies another side of Islam in northern Nigeria: cosmopolitan and socially reformist, but by no means secular.
"Sharia means that people can ask the governor, 'Hey, what money did you buy your expensive shirt with?" "Bilkisu supports Transparency International; a Sharia-led public morality aims for them in a similar direction. "The Sharia calls into question the immunity and privileges of the powerful, demands accountability from the leaders."
Progressive, mostly academically educated Muslims from the north are now working on what they call "the real Sharia", as opposed to the "political Sharia" of recent years. The shock of stoning sentences and bloody riots was followed by conferences and studies; the crisis brought feminists and traditional imams to one table for the first time, supported by Western sponsors, the Heinrich Böll Foundation on the German side.
To free the religiously articulated demand for justice of the masses from fanaticism and to use it for political progress is a huge undertaking. But there is no alternative for the Muslim reformers. "No politician in northern Nigeria will dare to abolish Sharia again," says the historian Hamid Boboyi; he is in charge of it Arewa House, a respected research institute. “There is no going back. And instead of going against the trend of the masses, we should use the trend for progressive development. "
The reform begins with better training for judges. Islamic law is quite flexible, precisely because it draws from so many sources and is also divided into four schools of law. And a gentle modernization is possible with the codification, that is, when the Sharia is poured into legal form. Because this or that more liberal doctrine can be preferred in a very eclectic way. Many Islamic countries have reformed the Sharia family law in this way: women were given the right to divorce, polygamy was restricted or made difficult to the point of practical impossibility.
It is impossible for devout Muslims to completely abolish punishments that are explicitly mentioned in the Koran or in secure information from the prophets - even if their personal values are in line with international human rights treaties. However, stoning and amputation could be suspended through a moratorium.
Outside Nigeria, the Sharia criminal laws apply in Iran, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Pakistan - and they apply differently in each case. In Ghadafi's Libya, the punishments are more of an alibi and are rarely used. In Pakistan, the Sharia gave a weapon to male obsessions of honor: many women are jailed on arbitrary charges of adultery.
"It is not Sharia, but patriarchal tradition that is the enemy of women," says attorney Fatima Idris. During the stoning trial of Amina Lawal, she sat in the courtroom to show solidarity. In her office it is sweltering this lunchtime due to a power failure "A construction machine roars in front of the open window, but that doesn't reduce the verve with which the lawyer talks about her cases. She represents clients in Sharia courts, often for domestic violence." Many women are too fatalistic! They give in the middle of the process when their family say: Leave it to God! "
Fatima is proud to be the first female judge in Nigeria's national Supreme Court is a Muslim; There are also high-ranking Muslim women judges in the north - but only in secular courts. No woman is allowed to judge in the Sharia court, at least that's what the Maliki school of law that predominates in West Africa says. Fatima, on the other hand, does not revolt. “We cannot change decrees from Allah. No way! Even if all the Muslims in the world wanted it. "
Traditional African customs can be very misogynistic. In the Christian southeast, many a widow has to drink the water with which the husband's body was washed: to prove that she was not to blame for his death. In the Islamic north, many family practices directly contradict Sharia: preventing girls from going to school or marrying them off against their will; Denying women the inherited land or a visit to the doctor. The British Council cites such examples in a brochure that the cultural institute provides with the Nigerian Center for Islamic Legal Studies has written. "Promoting women's rights through Sharia", under this provocative title an awareness campaign has started, supported by British development aid. A Western government has a positive attitude towards Sharia - that is new.
A flock of birds passes over the teasing white battlements of the Emir Palace of Kano.This is one of the oldest cities in West Africa, more than a thousand years old. Abstract ornaments cover the simple mud walls of the palace; Inside, a sophisticated system of courtyards and passageways is confusing - so no stranger can penetrate the women's quarter unnoticed. A palace of polygamy: the 75-year-old emir has 70 children with four wives and various concubines.
Northern Nigeria's emirs have come to terms with the secular federal state just as they did with the British colonial rulers. Radical Muslim intellectuals complain that they are "prostitutes of power." But many of the people love them.
Female relatives of the emir sit around on little walls in the palace courtyard, they don't look particularly regal, but those passing by bow and touch the floor with a quick, elegant, only hinted movement. At such moments, northern Nigeria can envelop the visitor in a very special atmosphere, it may be intellectually narrow, but still has dignity, and if only it is the dignity to evade the western lifestyle and the dictates of acceleration. Those who respect themselves dress in traditional, richly clothed robes; whoever wears western clothes looks poor.
But the framework of traditional things holds together less and less. Beyond the palace walls, Kano is a restless, feverish metropolis of millions. Nigeria's second largest city has often been the scene of violence. Hosts of unemployed young men and destitute students from Koran schools represent an easily excitable potential. In the Fagge district, where many of them live, you don't have to look far to find young men who consider Usama bin Laden a "good leader". Because he is "clean," they say, because he is nothing for himself even want.
This mood made an outsider governor in Kano, the most important state in the north, in the last election. Ibrahim Shekarau, a teacher, came into office without a rope, without wealth - something like that rarely happens in Nigeria.
This, too, is now Sharia: the governor identified more than a hundred "social evils", including the "licentiousness" of the youth, and drafted programs for moral renewal. They are called "Bring your house in order!" Or "Straighten your ranks!". The latter alludes to the prayer rows in the mosque, they are an expression of equality before God, but also of order and discipline.
Hundreds of mopeds stand in the forecourt of a court, alongside just as many young men with sullen expressions. They are taxi drivers, their mopeds were confiscated in the recent morale campaign: the men had taken female passengers on the back, and that is now prohibited. A man and a woman so close together, that is a preliminary stage to adultery, from which Kano should be cleansed. The measure is very unpopular, not just with drivers who have to pay heavy fines. Women often wait hours before they catch one of the new three-wheeled women's taxis.
Again the Sharia aims at the common people. As if there wasn't any major indecency.
Most of the customers of the unofficial prostitutes in the Christian quarter of Kano are Muslims, says an insider, also in the few Christian taverns that are allowed to serve alcohol. Male and female prostitutes from Kano even travel to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia on a professionally organized axis, with a pilgrim visa. “Dishonesty doesn't get anywhere. Try it with honesty! "Is written on large boards in the city.
The real enemy of the poor Muslim in northern Nigeria is - the rich Muslim. That’s what Lamido Sanusi wrote, a belligerent intellectual who is also a senior manager of a large bank and an expert on Islamic law. The practice of Sharia in northern Nigeria is a "travesty", he said, makes Islam ridiculous. For this, some have insulted it as an "enemy of Islam".
The aristocratic, slender man clearly enjoys being controversial - and in his own life, too, combines the feudal and the modern in a very idiosyncratic manner. Lamido Sanusi belongs to the family of the Emir of Kano, but the 44-year-old is more likely to be found in Lagos, sometimes in London; in all three places he has a wife, coquettishly calls himself a "feminist polygamist". He used to be a Marxist, then discovered that there was "something third" besides capitalism and socialism: Islam.
Lamido's clever analyzes are valued by experts. Globalization, he says, is pulling the fabric of Nigeria's society diametrically apart - the south is influenced by the Western discourse, the north by the Arab-Islamic one. The Muslims of northern Nigeria are culturally "closer to the rest of the Islamic world than to the rest of their own country."
So is the same play currently being played on a small stage in Nigeria as it is in the big world theater?
Daily Trust, the only daily newspaper with a northern perspective, writes about the cartoon crisis: “Are we already in the era of Clash of civilizations? It looks like it. (...) And it will go on until the big one Clash of the future. "In Kano the state parliamentarians burned a Danish flag outside the parliament.
A few days beforehand, academics and democratic activists from the north have gathered in a simple seminar room, women and men, most of whom are taking part Haji or female Hajiya in front of the name, the title of pilgrims to Mecca, the assembled want that Clash not, they are concerned about how north and south are drifting apart in Nigeria and are looking for the reasons.
Traditionally, the gap has been great: a household in Lagos has an average income that is six times higher; almost all of the government's major industrial projects are in the south; five of the Sharia states in the north are classified as "extremely poor" according to the international index. But now something else has to be added: Since 1999 Nigeria's democratic era began, a religious and cultural resistance has developed in the north against supposedly "western" development goals and international agreements. A polio vaccination campaign was suspected of being sterile. A charter for the protection of children's rights collided with the fact that Islam allows criminal responsibility from sexual maturity. And when Nigeria's Christian President Obasanjo wanted to abolish the death penalty, many in the north sensed a targeted attack on the Sharia.
In Nigeria, for example, the psychological knot is reflected, which elsewhere as well complicates the relationship between the Islamic and the Western world so hopelessly: Muslims always feel marginalized while their counterparts perceive them as a threat.
On the wall of the simple seminar room hangs a picture of Aminu Kano, a local Muslim reformist from the 1970s. UNESCO honored him because he built girls' schools and promoted literacy. Aminu Kano, himself an Islamic scholar with a widespread secular education, built bridges between the two identities that now perceive each other as so contradicting one another: traditional Islamic and western-modern. The bridges were possible, today they collapsed.
Most children in the north do not come into contact with secular education at all; they only attend a Koran school like this one: five dozen children sit close together in the long shadow that a house wall casts on the sandy street. Most of them are boys, which is not always the case, a small group of girls sit in front of the teacher. The children first learn the letters of the Arabic alphabet, paint them on wooden boards, then they learn the sound of the Quranic verses, thus learning the whole holy book by heart. Only much later, if they go to a secondary school in Islam, will they learn to understand the Koran.
When the boys notice that they are being photographed, they hesitantly hold up their Koran sheets, then with increasing enthusiasm, jump up, shout "Allahu Akbar" - as if that were the only correct answer when a Westerner with a camera is in front of them. They laugh at the same time, waving hats, are completely entranced by their own performance.
Fundamentalist or Islamist - these slogans are of little use for northern Nigeria. As a foreigner, you don't experience hostility; many want to talk, to explain themselves. If a label is needed, it would be more like this: traditionalism that has become anti-Western in color. -
Drive to Katsina, high up in the north, not far from the border with neighboring Niger.
In the wasteland outside the city there are new buildings with red roofs and air conditioning - this is the beginning of "Nigeria's First Islamic University", a private initiative. 250 business people have raised the equivalent of three million euros, they expect more money from Saudi Arabia at the opening at least the Saudi ambassador came.
In Katsina, too, the glory of the past inspires: from the 14th to the 16th century, this city was a famous center of Islamic education; Muslims from Morocco came to study with their scholars. All that remains of the mosque university is the minaret, an ocher-colored tower with sun-hungry lizards dozing at the foot of the stairs.
Sani Abubakar Lugga, the wealthy initiator of the university, has invited people to his house for a chat. A huge reception room, Sheikh Sani, 56, in lavish costume, five telephones on the right, four cell phones on the left, on the walls of the Vain itself in the picture: He is second after the local emir, a well-traveled manager, he is in Germany and England trained. He describes the goal of the Islamic university as follows: "Modernization without Westernization". That means: secular subjects, coeducation, non-Muslims are allowed. But: "Whatever is studied, it has to correspond to Islam. Of course, biology is Islamic biology. "
The conversation ends abruptly, it is prayer time, Sheikh Sani disappears with his entourage, those dozen men who always seem to be present in such rooms; they had been watching football on satellite TV.
Saudi Arabia exerts influence over people like this Sheikh Sani, but it remains limited. "Izala", a stream characterized by Saudi purism, was more influential 20 years ago than it is today. Izala's schools have modernized the Islamic canon of subjects and brought tens of thousands of girls to their school desks. However, the only thing that remains of the encounter with a leading Izala functionary is that the man wore an unusual Arab turban ("because the Prophet did that") and that his mobile phone called "Allahu Akbar" as a ringtone.
Some intellectuals listen to radical voices, but the majority of the people remain loyal to a traditional, Sufist-oriented Islam. The 70 year old Dahiru Usman Bauchi is one of the most popular Sufi sheikhs. His eyes seem frail, but his mind is alert, the old man speaks lively, underlining his words with beautiful, strong hands. When asked whether music is forbidden, the sheikh replies: “Music is like a bag, you can put what is permitted or prohibited in it. Relaxing with music is allowed. If music makes unmarried people dance together, it is forbidden. "At the end of the interview, he silently prays for those present, and the assembled men rub their faces in confirmation.
Continue to a village just before the national border to visit a traditional guide at the base. The Sarki, a kind of king of 30,000 people in nine villages, rests in a lemon-yellow robe on a deck chair, next to a table with food crumbs and flies; the obligatory dozen men sit on the floor. The dynasty of the little king goes back to before the colonial era, he himself has held the title for 49 years, everything here seems to be permanent: four women, 27 children, 125 grandchildren; he knew the names of most of them.
A son shows the clan's scars on his temples, a double slash: In the past, the scars were used as a distinguishing feature so that relatives would not accidentally kill each other in battle.
The Sarki is not a hillbilly, he listens to Deutsche Welle in Haussa and suddenly asks the visitor, in the tone of a salon conversation: "Are you old enough to have known Hitler?" Only now does it become apparent that there were black glasses between flies and crumbs of food. the king is blind. He no longer sees what plagues the farmers in his nine villages, but he knows it well enough: nomads from Niger and even from Chad drive their herds ruthlessly over the fields, let them rob the granaries and the harvest There are huge herds of cattle, sometimes thousands of animals; the nomads are armed. The blind Sarki tries to mediate; as soon as the conflicts get bloody, he is no longer responsible, but the local government.
Farmers against nomads - that is a pattern of conflict in other parts of Nigeria as well. If Christians fight Muslims in the process, it is considered a religious conflict and the world is listening. Here there are Muslims on both sides, including relatives; an ordinary struggle for the resources of the Sahel.
A huge truck rattles past, it covers the road in dust, the big white letters on the wagon can just be made out: May Allah protect us. -
Kaduna, last stop on the journey. Here the north turns south, Christians and Muslims are almost equally strong. The steel skeleton of a burnt-out church stands like a memorial in the evening light.
Kaduna used to be a cosmopolitan city, churches and mosques, beer bars and Koran schools were almost wall to wall. Today Kaduna is a city of separation, of segregation, some call it "Beirut in the savannah".
Next to the skeleton of the burned-out church yawns an open space the size of a soccer field; here were the houses of Christians. Young men, young Muslims, sit on the broken blocks of a foundation. "There was a war here," says one of them, "we don't know exactly what happened, we only moved here after the war." No Christian lives in this quarter any more, just as hardly any Muslim lives in another once mixed quarter. Someone there painted "For sale" on the walls of a row of houses blackened by fire; the former neighbors are selling cheap.
5000 dead in the past five years alone. The struggles sparked off religious sensitivities and fears, then charged with local political conflict. When the introduction of Sharia was announced, Christians demonstrated under the slogan "To hell with Sharia"; in the subsequent outbreak of violence, two thousand people died and 80,000 fled their homes. In 2002, when a Miss World competition was held in Nigeria during the month of fasting should be held, a deadly storm broke out because of a thoughtless remark in the fashion section of a daily newspaper: The Prophet would surely have married a beauty queen rather than protesting against the competition.
Now there is tension again over the city. Christian associations have condemned the prophet caricatures; it wasn't just a reassuring gesture. In their sensitivity to religious denigration, Nigeria's Christians are closer to Muslims than to the secularized Christians of Europe. Kaduna learned from previous crises and practiced prevention. A security council met, the communities consulted, and the imams warned against violence in the mosques.
The governor, a Muslim, had already tried a number of things to steal the violence: with poverty reduction, with microcredits and with an arbitration board for disputes over land. The religiously contoured wars were mostly fought only by the lower classes.
And the Sharia? Their regulations now only apply in Kaduna's Muslim neighborhoods. Segregation, the child of violence, made a peaceful solution possible. Sharia in puzzle format, you could call it a curiosity in legal history, if it weren't for the many dead.
Girls in T-shirts, even an untrained eye can tell: This is a Christian quarter. Or the loud music coming from a kiosk for tapes and videos. There are other signs, just for the knowledgeable eye. A certain bread stand on the side of the road. Or loading in a container. "We wouldn't do something like that," explains one Muslim.
Only when you know all this, the dead, the displaced, the purges and then the "we" that can be found when looking at a bread stand, you should visit Pastor James Wuye. He puts his dark brown hand prosthesis between the piles of paper on top of his Desk. The prosthesis is from Germany, the pastor lost his hand in the fight against Muslims. He was the leader of a Christian militia, armed with spears, machetes and hatred.
Together with an imam, who used to be his opponent in the street fight, the pastor set up the "Interfaith Mediation Center": rebuilding trust in tiny steps between bloody hostile neighbors, parishes, neighborhoods - that was the main task in the past few years.
The pastor remembers how two armed Christian girls said to him during the fighting over Sharia: “Get out of the way, woman! Give us your pants and put on our skirts if you don't want to fight. "Christian men, he says, smoked the houses of Muslims" like rats, "while Christian women waited outside to kill the fleeing people. The pastor turns to the Imam for a moment: "Imagine, they are now completely normal wives and mothers."
The pastor & the imam, that has become a trademark; the famous duo wrote a book, trained Nigeria's police force; Last year they both received the Bremen Peace Prize, and recently they were invited to Kenya. In all of this, however, it is important: the term inter-religious is to be taken literally, there is no neutral zone, no secular space, the goal is not less religion, not less belief, but - better believe.
Tolerance is a negative term for him, says the pastor; be correct: acceptance. "In acceptance there is healing, healing for yourself. Because you cannot change the other." The line between Christianity and Islam is fine, but it cuts deeply. In everyday life and values there is a lot in common, but spirituality is very different. “We don't preach Chrislam, we say: stay who you are, live your faith and do it as best you can! "
This closes the circle between politics and religion. Pastor & Imam teach at seminars how Christians and Muslims should fight together against the Nigerian plagues: their manual propagates Good governance with relevant quotations from the Bible and the Koran, with parables of Mohammed and Jesus.
“Our passion for religion is so strong; with religion you can get someone here to kill their father and mother, "says the pastor." But if we were really all God-fearing, Nigeria would not have such problems. "
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