FaithWorld

Protests erupt over new Emir of Kano, Nigeria’s second-highest Islamic authority

(Nigeria's central bank governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi attends an interview with Reuters at the World Islamic Economic Forum in London October 30, 2013. Nigeria's central bank now wants inflation in a range between 6-9 percent, its governor Sanusi told Reuters on Wednesday, lowering the regulator's previous target of simply keeping it under 10 percent. To match Interview NIGERIA-INFLATION/ REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth)

(Nigeria’s former central bank governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi at the World Islamic Economic Forum in London October 30, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth)

Hundreds of youths protested on Monday against a decision to appoint Nigeria’s former central bank governor as the country’s second-highest Islamic authority.

Sunday’s state government decision to make Lamido Sanusi the Emir of Kano, one of the most influential positions in the largely Muslim north, surprised many who had expected the job to pass from father to son as a sign of stability when the north faces an Islamist insurgency.

Sanusi, an outspoken critic of the government’s record on corruption, became the Emir two days after the death of his great uncle, the last emir.

Protesters backing the late emir’s oldest son, Lamido Ado Bayero, chanted “Ba ma son”, or “We don’t want” in the Hausa language, and “Kariya ne”, meaning “It’s a lie”, near the emir’s palace in Kano, the north’s main city, witnesses told Reuters.

Nigeria’s ex-central bank governor takes throne as Muslim monarch

(Nigeria's Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi attends the World Islamic Economic Forum in London October 30, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth )

(Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi attends the World Islamic Economic Forum in London October 30, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth)

Nigeria’s ousted central bank governor, Lamido Sanusi, was named Emir of Kano on Sunday, making an outspoken government critic one of the most influential leaders in the largely Muslim north.

Sanusi, who regularly railed against the government’s record on corruption, was suspended from his post at the bank in February by President Goodluck Jonathan in a decision that alarmed international investors.

Saudi Arabia’s top cleric says Nigeria’s Boko Haram smears Islam

(Women holding signs take part in a protest demanding the release of abducted secondary school girls from the remote village of Chibok, in Lagos May 5, 2014. The Islamist militant group Boko Haram claimed responsibility on Monday for the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls during a raid in the village of Chibok in northeast Nigeria last month, the French news agency AFP reported, citing a video it had obtained. Boko Haram on April 14 stormed an all-girl secondary school in Chibok, in Borno state, then packed the teenagers, who had been taking exams, onto trucks and disappeared into a remote area along the border with Cameroon. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye)

(Women holding signs take part in a protest demanding the release of abducted secondary school girls from the remote village of Chibok, in Lagos May 5, 2014.REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye)

Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti, the top religious authority in the birthplace of Islam, has condemned Nigeria’s Boko Haram as a group “set up to smear the image of Islam” and condemned its kidnapping of over 200 schoolgirls.

Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh said the radical movement, which says it wants to establish a “pure” Islamic state in Nigeria, was “misguided” and should be “shown their wrong path and be made to reject it.”

Islamic officials condemn kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls

(A woman holds a sign during a protest demanding the release of abducted secondary school girls from the remote village of Chibok, in Lagos May 5, 2014. The Islamist militant group Boko Haram claimed responsibility on Monday for the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls during a raid in the village of Chibok in northeast Nigeria last month, the French news agency AFP reported, citing a video it had obtained. Boko Haram on April 14 stormed an all-girl secondary school in Chibok, in Borno state, then packed the teenagers, who had been taking exams, onto trucks and disappeared into a remote area along the border with Cameroon. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye)

(A woman holds a sign during a protest demanding the release of abducted secondary school girls from the remote village of Chibok, in Lagos May 5, 2014. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye)

Islamic scholars and human rights officials of the world’s largest Muslim organisation on Thursday denounced the mass kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls by the militant group Boko Haram as “a gross misinterpretation of Islam”.

The statements from a research institute and human rights committee of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) echoed denunciations of the radical Islamist group by religious leaders and officials in Nigeria and several Muslim countries.

Nigeria’s surging Christian-Muslim bloodshed strains ‘marriage of irreconcilables’

(The leader of the displaced Fulani herdsmen Haruna Usman in Barkin Kogi, Zango Kataf, Kaduna State March 22, 2014. Picture taken March 22, 2014. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde)

When Fulani raiders carrying rifles, machetes and clubs stormed his village one night last month, Pius Nna was stunned to see his teenage nephew among them.

“He was leading them and telling them to check very well, because my house would have a lot of people in it and they would be sure to find someone to kill,” said Nna, a tall farmer in his mid-60s who said he escaped by fleeing into the bush.

Nigeria largely ignores sectarian violence, Human Rights Watch report says

(Onitsha in southeastern Nigeria after religious riots that killed at least 138 people across the country in five days. February 23, 2006. REUTERS/George Esiri )

Nigerian authorities have largely ignored sectarian clashes in the nation’s religiously mixed central region that have killed 3,000 people since 2010, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.

Local police rejected the findings by the international watchdog, which said that a series of massacres and tit-for-tat sectarian attacks have gone largely unpunished as police overlooked witnesses or failed to collect evidence properly.

Nigerian Anglican archbishop kidnapped in Delta is released

(Speedboats are arranged along a jetty in Yenagoa, the capital of Nigeria’s oil state of Bayelsa November 27, 2012. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye)

Nigerian Archbishop Ignatius Kattey, the country’s second most senior Anglican cleric, has been released by the armed men who kidnapped him last week in the Niger Delta, police said on Sunday.

Kidnapping for ransom is rife in Nigeria, particularly in the oil-producing Delta region, but the abduction of Kattey was a rare case of a religious leader being targeted.

In Nigeria, art boom feeds a revival of interest in traditional animist art

(Artist and designer Nike Davies-Okundaye poses for a portrait in her art gallery in Lekki district in Lagos August 30, 2013. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye)

The haunting stone sculptures have stretched bodies with enlarged heads, mask-like faces and elongated chests – the kind of sharp, geometric qualities that inspired the works of Pablo Picasso and the Cubist movement in the 1920s.

Displayed at a Lagos gallery alongside colourful paintings of domestic scenes, they represent a revival of ancient art forms in Nigeria, rooted in traditional spirituality, that Christian missionaries tried to banish a century ago.

Guestview: Terrorism and Religion in Nigeria

(Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Nigeria walks through Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican March 9, 2013. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez)

The following is a guest contribution. Reuters is not responsible for the content and the views expressed are the authors’ alone. Cardinal John Onaiyekan is the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Abuja. Following is a short presentation on current religious tensions in Nigeria that he made on Tuesday to the annual scientific meeting in Milan of the Venice-based Oasis International Foundation, which studies Christian-Muslim relations. 

By Cardinal John Onaiyekan

Let us begin with the general observation that there is violence in the Nigerian culture and I imagine like in every culture. Apart from the history of the inter-tribal wars in the past and of the colonial conquest of our land as well as the resistance to that conquest, our independent Nigeria has also seen the experience of the Nigerian Civil War in which there was a lot of violence and killing. Following this experience, the country has had to deal very much with criminals, armed robbers, militants and kidnappers, most of which are a carry-over from the situation of violence in the last decades. There is also the communal violence that has been in the country every now and then between different ethnic groups, between social groups, even between political groups. Our elections have often been marred by serious violence. In this context therefore, the religious dimension simply falls into a relatively “normal” pattern. People quarrel and fight over many things, including over their religion.

Nigeria passes anti-gay bill with penalties up to 14 years in jail

(Nigerian legislators in session in the capital Abuja, October 10, 2012.  REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde)

Nigeria’s House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday to criminalise gay marriage, same-sex “amorous relationships” and even membership of a gay rights group, defying pressure from Western powers to respect gay and lesbian rights.

The bill, which contains penalties of up to 14 years in prison, passed Nigeria’s Senate in late-2011 but President Goodluck Jonathan must approve it before it becomes law.