Anglican Communion News Service: Sectarian violence in Nigeria "goes beyond just religious tensions"

It worries me that we Christians seem to want to simplify conflict where other Christians are involved, even when we are involved. We describe it as being about our Christian faith. It seems to be important to people that we are persecuted. And we seem to just love to hate the Muslims. I mean, they hate us so, and do such bad things to Christians.

One of the weirdest experiences I had was at a youth event in Northern Ireland, at the Corrymeela Community. (Corrymeela's mission is: embracing difference, healing division and enabling reconciliation. Our vision is of a peaceful and sustainable society based on social justice, positive relationships and respect for diversity. The Corrymeela Community strives to embody these values in every aspect of our lives.) The group was using the community just as a venue and the programme was being run by the Barnabas Trust. They were talking about how all these Christians all over the world were being persecuted for their faith. I asked them about how they experienced being persecuted for their faith by other Christians there in Northern Ireland. They couldn't get it. For them Muslims are bad, Christians are good and what was happening in Northern Ireland something completely different.

This article from the Anglican Communion News Service would suggest that the truth is often way more complex than we would want to acknowledge. That rather than being a root cause, religions is an excuse for the violence. That what is really at play is poverty and marginalisation. Blaming religion, blaming Islam means we avoid the real issues, feed our own prejudice and make us no different from those we demonise. That is not the way of Christ. We have much to learn still from Christ, and from communities like Corrymeela who really do offer and alternative.

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