Saturday, March 10, 2007

Christian-Muslim Harmony in Nigeria

The news out of Nigeria, and other African countries, is not pleasant these days. It surely does not inspire hope for dialog among Christians and Muslims. However, John L. Allen Jr. tells a story of an imam and a pastor, who for three years "worked tirelessly to launch a pioneering new effort in Christian/Muslim harmony in [their] blood-soaked region of northern Nigeria."
And for almost every day of those three years, he harbored a secret, burning urge: to smother his Muslim partner, Imam Muhammad Ashafa, with a pillow.
In his weekly column, In Nigeria, Christians and Muslims in uneasy calm, Mr. Allen very interestingly weaves into his retelling of their story numerous facts and sheds light on yet another "mega-trend in Catholicism."

The story of this imam and pastor is the subject of a film made in England. Mr. Allen includes a clip in this same column. This "good news [of Christian-Muslim dialog] comes with a sobering footnote," supplied by Mr. Allen at the close of this same column. It is well worth reading.
Linguistic map of Nigeria is in the public domain.

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