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But also, when the current administration came into place, people noted that he was a Pentecostal pastor, again, with the RCCG. So again, kind of an assertion that—. But to me, I think a lot of times it seems a lot like conviction. I mean, for one thing, you know, as, Olufemi, you point out, fairly recently, you know, the Nigerian constitution and political system in a lot of ways is explicitly modeled on that of the United States.

And, of course, you have to start with our Protestant Evangelical movement going back to the beginning of the nineteenth century. The Church Missionary Society is particularly important in this regard. So the arrival of Christianity is very much connected to the major social upheavals in Atlantic West Africa and central—in Atlantic West Africa in the nineteenth century.

The Yoruba wars, for instance, is also very much connected to this idea. We never really think about the notion of the last wave of the slave trade, the Atlantic slave trade, as very much connected to the role of English anti-abolitionists. I mean, we know key names such as Wilberforce and Clarkson and all those great English anti-slavery leaders of the late eighteenth century and the nineteenth century. So that history is extremely important in the founding of Nigeria and, by extension, in other parts of Atlantic West Africa.

And I think we need to really take those kinds of issues very seriously. Freetown is central in the making of Nigeria. Most of the first wave of returnees, repatriates, were people who had been liberated as a result of the work of British anti-slavery squadrons off the coast of West Africa. So that element is extremely important. Thinking about the history of Christianity and its role is very much connected, my point is very much connected to the abolition of slavery.

And by extension, a second point really is, when we think about Christianity, we also have to think about the so-called nonreligious aspect of Christianity, and that is the extent to which Christianity became a fundamental variable of social transformation and social change in coastal Nigeria in the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century.


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Can you imagine the secondary and elementary schools that were established in Lagos, Abeokuta, Ibadan, and all through much of the Delta and the southeast were really mission schools. The third point I want to make is to really reflect on how this history itself is essential in the structural division between the core Hausa-Fulani, Kanuri north on the one hand and the rest of the country in terms of social orientation.

Evangelical Christians in the Muslim Sahel

And then, of course, that question ought to be thought about in the context of the role of colonial rule. So colonial rule as a final element, the intersection between colonial rule and Christian missions are also very important. VAUGHAN: —the juxtaposition is really the ways in which colonial policy now will provide a major divide between core Muslim north in terms of the consequences, the social consequences of Western education in the core Muslim north.

Western education obviously came very late, as we all very well know. And the reason why Western education came very late—and we all know the consequences of not having Western education is precisely because colonial policy prohibited indirect rule, it prohibited Western institutions—Christian proselytization—. And so within, you know, northwest Africa over a millennium, you know, there were a couple of kind of pillars for Islam, two of which are worth mentioning here, one of which is Sufism, so organizing Muslims, you know, sometimes on a mass basis around mystical teachings.

And the other pillar worth mentioning would be the Maliki school of Sunni Islamic law. Then we can add to that—I mean, Professor Vaughan mentioned the importance of the jihad of Usman dan Fodio, you know, at the beginning of the nineteenth century and their continuing impact. And there, we get much more into kind of specificities of Nigeria and northern Nigeria and southern Niger and surrounding regions.

That put in a place a system of hereditary rulers who, you know, continue to wield significant influence and authority up to the present. In recent decades, of course, there have been a bunch of challenges to this model. So Nigeria, particularly since the s, has had a much more kind of fragmented Islamic landscape and a much more kind of crowded marketplace of ideas that Muslims can choose between or compete over.

CAMPBELL: Murtala Mohammed said—and ever since then, we all repeat it to each other—that the country is 50 percent Christian, 50 percent Muslim, that neither religion is a minority, and that Nigeria is by far the largest country in the world in which neither Christianity nor Islam is a minority religion. If we simply accept that without digging very deeply as to its accuracy, does the fact that the estimate is, in about , the area that is now Nigeria was almost 30 percent Muslim in population and 2 percent Christian, does the fact that while the Muslim population may have doubled, the Christian population has increased exponentially, is this destabilizing, particularly in the Muslim north?

There would be at least a marginal—a larger population of Muslims in comparison to Christians. It feels as though we need to have a map of Nigeria here. So when you look at that major central part of Nigeria, that part was an essential part of the Northern Nigeria Protectorate. But even in the core Muslim regions, core Muslim regions also have large non-Muslim population. The people who became Christians, who were converted to Christianity, are essentially the so-called pagans, adherence to indigenous African religions.

Including, to be very precise, including slavery, right, as a way and a strategy of what? Of expansion and appropriation, as a constant process.

Evangelical Christians in the Muslim Sahel - Barbara M. Cooper - Google Livres

Christianity to that population inevitably will provide a universal ideology, not just simply an ideology of expression of religious faith, but rather, but very much an expression of collective social, political action. They also have to think about it even more so as a—as a political question. Those were parties that formed alliances with non-Muslims.

But then there are also political parties in central Nigeria that were decidedly Christian in orientation, at least political orientation. So you see this constant intersection of religious structures, religious ideology, and religious doctrines, and collective political action—.

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I want, however, to mention three words that perhaps will help stimulate the conversation. The three words are Boko Haram, the farmer-herder conflicts in the Middle Belt, and then the role of Sharia or Islamic law in framing the contemporary events. But I want to ask about why Muslim-Christian relationships in southwestern Nigeria are relatively amicable. Southwestern Nigeria is very different from northern Nigeria.

Southwestern Nigeria, the region of the Yoruba people, is what I refer to as a Christian-Muslim crossroad going back to the nineteenth century.

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The relationship between Christians and Muslims are not just simply relatively peaceful, but very peaceful with minor tensions from time to time. And the reason why that is the case is, is Islam arrived and Christianity arrived in southwestern Nigeria quite late. They arrived at a time of British-European imperialism in the nineteenth century.

And as Alex rightly mentioned, in the case of northern Nigeria, Islam is very much a central part of Sahelian culture identity and so on. Many Yorubas have Christians and Muslims who are first cousins and second cousins. I myself am—obviously with a name like Olufemi, I am Yoruba, but I have many, many Muslim relatives who are particularly close to me.

And these are people who are particularly passionate about their beliefs. I mean, in the north, the dominant party, the MPC, was organized in part along, you know, preexisting Islamic infrastructures. I mean, a lot of the emirs and the hereditary rulers, you know, were part of the ruling party, which also became the national ruling party as well. The premier of the north and arguably the dominant politician in the country as a whole was Ahmadu Bello who was a descendant, you know, of—you know, the near descendant of Usman dan Fodio and who was not—for whom invoking that was a key part of his identity, his political identity I mean.

Religious tension in Nigeria

He has one, a newspaper where, you know, actually leaders from the Middle Belt were writing in to tell Bello that they had converted to Islam, you know, and to kind of show that they were hopping onboard with the party. Women of all social backgrounds now find that they must navigate Maradi's complex social terrain on foot, which renders them both vulnerable and subject to intense criticism.

By adopting relatively conservative dress, women can insulate themselves somewhat from opprobrium. Mature Christian women tend to dress in the same conservative Hausa-style garb as Muslim women of their generation; however, the cloth they choose to make up their outfits often bears Christian symbols and quotations from the Bible. Thus, while they do not hide the fact that they are Christian, their dress does not differ remarkably from that of their Muslim female peers.

Younger Christian women, on the other hand, are often quite cosmopolitan in their tastes, sporting elegant pantsuits and following broader West African fashion trends. All, however, cover their heads regularly and tend to avoid miniskirts. In this respect they, too, resemble many Muslim schoolgirls of their own age group. Christian women and traditionalist or secular Muslim women seem on the whole to share the same sensibilities with regard to dress. Islamist women, on the other hand, distinguish themselves by wearing multicolored body coverings similar to those worn in Saudi Arabia, known locally as hijabi.

This form of veiling is a very recent introduction into the region. An even smaller number of women wear such veils in white or black and cover their faces entirely. Such women perform their religious and social affiliations regularly in their public appearance. Similarly, while the madrasas often have signs up in Hausa and Arabic advertising the school, Christian establishments are generally quite circumspect.

Many churches are unmarked and can be found only if one is aware of the name they are known by locally by congregation members. On the map of Maradi, I deliberately give only a rough indication of the location of some of the sites that were under attack during the riot. Similarly, I indicate only the approximate location of some of the best known of the Christian establishments, only enough to assist the reader in following the argument.

These differing neighborhoods make up an extraordinarily complex social mosaic; the one common denominator shared by all but westerners, missionaries, and converts to Christianity is faith in Islam. Far from the taken-for-granted "tradition" that might serve as a shared social lubricant, Islam is itself subject to ongoing debate. In the different neighborhoods, one finds enacted radically different interpretations of the relationship between public space and appropriate gender relations. In some neighborhoods Limantchi and Zaria , Muslim women are strictly secluded, in others they openly sell cooked food on the street, and in still others they own homes and make a livelihood by servicing men's sexual and domestic needs.

One of the defining differences in the lived experience of urban modernity across the neighborhoods of Maradi is the degree of tolerance for female mobility and visibility. Women's social, political, and economic options are thus profoundly linked to their spatial mobility, which conditions their ability to tap into discourses, resources, and self-representations associated with a range of geographic scales Cooper a, b. The state functionary accesses national-level discourses of patriotism and citizenship to legitimize her employment outside the home, but she also does so by residing in and working in particular settings.

Islamist women, on the other hand, enjoy a certain mobility in their neighborhoods as long as they are veiled in their distinctive fashion and their destination is legitimated through an interpretation of Islam that emphasizes their right to access Islamic learning. In the capital of Niamey, some discourses have greater salience in legitimating female spatial access than in Maradi: the educated Muslim or Christian schoolgirl who often wears a miniskirt in Niamey and whose visibility and mobility there is underwritten by her sense that a cosmopolitan modernity is her privilege and a mark of Niger's secularism may find that in Zinder and Maradi her dress is seen as justifying physical violence against her.

In Maradi, the gradual encroachment of Christian and secularist visions of Niger's future has meant that increasingly heated struggles over whether and how to define an appropriately Islamic modernity have characterized the past twenty years. Related publisher series Social History of Africa.


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