27 February 2006

Vatican to Islam: ‹^›‹(ò¿ó)›‹^›

There is a civil war brewing, and it has global implications.

No, I am not talking about Iraq. I am talking about Nigeria, and, frankly, not enough other people are talking about it as well, I believe.

A brief background:
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is also becoming one of its success stories. “Following nearly 16 years of military rule, a new constitution was adopted in 1999, and a peaceful transition to civilian government was completed.” [World Fact Book]
Although the April 2003 elections were marred by some irregularities, Nigeria is currently experiencing its longest period of civilian rule since independence.” [ibid]
Oil-rich Nigeria, long hobbled by political instability, corruption, inadequate infrastructure, and poor macroeconomic management, is undertaking some reforms under a new reform-minded administration.” [ibid]
In the last year the government has begun showing the political will to implement the market-oriented reforms urged by the IMF, such as to modernize the banking system, to curb inflation by blocking excessive wage demands, and to resolve regional disputes over the distribution of earnings from the oil industry. In 2003 the government began deregulating fuel prices, announced the privatization of the country's four oil refineries, and instituted the National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy, a domestically designed and run program modeled on the IMF's Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility for fiscal and monetary management. GDP rose strongly in 2005, based largely on increased oil exports and high global crude prices. In November 2005, Abuja won Paris Club approval for an historic debt relief deal that by March 2006 should eliminate $30 billion worth of Nigeria's total $36 billion external debt.” [ibid]

So, Nigeria is struggling but pulling itself up. Good, right? The kind of thing we want to see, a country righting itself, with a reform-based democratic government.

Now the tensions:
-Nigeria’s population is split between a Muslim north and a Christian south, with significant minorities of each both north and south. The population totals 50% Muslim and 40% or so Christian.
-Nigeria’s current, Christian, President is in his second, and by their constitution, last term. However, there is a growing movement to change the constitution to allow three terms.
-Nigeria’s Muslim population has been imposing sharia law in areas in the North, even on non-Muslims.

And this brings us to recent events:
-In the North, Muslims began protesting, yes, those Danish Mohammed cartoons. Their reason? Well, the Christians were fairly sure they knew why. However, in the course of protesting the cartoons published by a bunch of far off Europeans, the adherents of the religion of peace burned at least 30 churches and killed, often brutally, at least 45 local Christians. Because of the Danes.
-Nigeria’s Anglican bishop immediately issued a statement that said, among many other things, “May we at this stage remind our Muslim brothers that they do not have the monopoly of violence in this nation … [we] may no longer be able to contain our restive youths should this ugly trend continue.” As a note, the entire statement is breathtaking and damning. Really, read it. This clergyman has had enough, and says so quite effectively.
-Nigeria’s Christian youth then proved the bishop correct by no longer being constrained, and began their own slaughter of what Muslims they could corner. The latest reports I could find put the death toll estimate at about 150, comprising both Muslim and Christian.
-Following this outbreak, Reuters reported that Pope Benedict “signaled his concern on Monday when he told the new Moroccan ambassador to the Vatican that peace can only be assured by "respect for the religious convictions and practices of others, in a reciprocal way in all societies." ” Additionally, other Vatican leaders expanded on the Pope’s message by saying, "If we tell our people they have no right to offend, we have to tell the others they have no right to destroy us," [Vatican Secretary of State], and also, “The West has had relations with the Arab countries for half a century, mostly for oil, and has not been able to get the slightest concession on human rights,” and “Enough now with this turning the other cheek! It's our duty to protect ourselves.” [Secretary of the Vatican Supreme Court]

Go ahead, read that last part again. Enough turning the other cheek. Says a Vatican official. Yikes.

So a clash of cultures moves one step closer, and both the Anglican and Catholic Churches have come firmly down against appeasement. No wonder this was splashed all over the headlines. Oh wait…

UPDATE:
Yeah, ninme beat me to it, by days... She runs down more on the actual details of the violence on each side, for those of you so inclined.

3 Comments:

At 2/27/2006, Blogger ninme said...

Good gravy. I hadn't seen that. Thanks!

And yeah, my trackbacks only ever work for people abusing them, for some reason. Sigh...

 
At 2/27/2006, Blogger PigBoatSailor said...

Yeah, quite the big talk out of the Vatican - and yes, even though it is not the big guy himself, I am classifying it as "from the Vatican," under the premise that you don't get to a position such as Monsignor De Paolis' without knowing not to go too far off the reservation. So therefore, I assume his statement has to be at least within a standard deviation of the official sentiments of the Vatican.

 
At 2/27/2006, Blogger Vigilis said...

Are we begining to see the wisdom of the Vatican's positions all along.

Islamic Family Planning"The concept of contraception for just pleasurable and 'safe sex' does not match with the spirit of Islam. They are the recipes for sensual and promiscuous life."

 

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