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Rehabilitating the Image of Christianity among Muslims

Author: Danny McCain
Date: 23.09.2010
Category: Reconciliation, Islam, World Faiths

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Originally Posted in English

For all Americans, September 11, 2001 was one of the most memorable days in our modern history. It was the day radical terrorists attacked the Twin Towers in New York City and the Pentagon in the Washington DC, killing almost 3000 people in one day.

However, for those of us who were living in the city of Jos, in north-central Nigeria at that time, September 11th went almost unnoticed because we were involved in our own violent crisis. Four days earlier, on September 7th, a major ethno-religious crisis exploded in Jos that took the lives of 1000 to 2000 people and destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses. This was a week mixed with terror, amazement, anger, shock, and many other conflicting emotions. Unfortunately, that was not to be the last crisis. In November 2008, another crisis sparked off with at least another 700 to 800 loosing their lives. Sadly, in January 2010, the violence returned and hundreds more people were slaughtered, many of them non-combatants who had nothing to do with the controversies that sparked the violence.

The factors that fed the flames of this conflict are beyond the scope of this paper. It is sufficient to say that there were political, ethnic, economic and religious factors involved. Regardless of other causes, these conflicts have certainly polarized the Christian and Muslim communities and created much different perceptions of our respective religions in the eyes of the opposite community.

The Muslim Perception of Christianity In Nigeria

From a Muslim point of view, there is disturbing evidence that Christianity is taking Nigeria down the wrong road.

It was Christians who burned mosques and killed Muslims in Jos. Regardless of who started the conflict, many Muslims died at the hands of Christians.

  • It is Christians who promote secularism, which is perceived as leaving God out of public life and is anathema to Islam.
  • It is the Christian girls at the university who dress immodestly and provocatively.
  • It was the Christian world that sponsored the “Miss World” contest some years ago in Abuja with its semi-nudity and exploitation of the female body.
  • It is Christian parts of Nigeria that are suffering most from HIV/AIDS which is viewed by many Muslims as a clear proof of the moral bankruptcy of Christianity.
  • It is Christians who are working hard to protect their ability to buy alcohol in the states that have implemented Islamic Shari law in Northern Nigeria.

Even Christians sometimes agree. I once overheard a Christian elder in a large church in Jos complain bitterly that the Nigerian states that have Muslim governors, like Bauchi State, have really helped develop their states but the states with Christian governors have just gone backwards because the Christian governors have “eaten all the money.”

Whether these things are all true or not, these are the perceptions that Muslims have of Christians in Nigeria. I will allow others to speak of the image Muslims have of Christians in other parts of the world. However, it is to our shame that Christians in Nigeria are often viewed as immoral, dishonest, violent drunkards instead of the generous, kind, thoughtful, forgiving saints Jesus taught us to be.

Keywords: Islam, Muslim, Rehabilitation, Image, Evangelism, Christianity, Violence, Africa

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Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down dbaker3894 (1)
United States

I do believe there are in fact Christians out there that lose their roots and get lost.  There are also those out there that have definitely been taught wrong.  This may be the case in Nigeria, but does not make it any more excusable.  It’s a shame that Christians are the ones acting this way , but beware that sometimes Islam can become a sleeping giant in areas that can lead to the killings you spoke of.  As far as Christians doing this, then I don’t believe us as Christians can believe that they are.  With these areas that are flourishing with Christians would hopefully allow for someone to actually come in and teach them about how they are living and that a Christian God would approve.  I do believe there has been some breakdown in what has been taught to them if they are acting in this sickening manner, but if Islam moves in it would be hard to get a Christian in there to preach the gospel.  Prayers are definitely needed in this situation.  


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