Cartoons Not the Only Cause of Nigeria Violence

The news headline "cartoon violence" does not quite capture the realities of the latest round of religious violence in Nigeria, at least not according to Nigeria's online media.

The Daily Champion says the attacks in the city of Onitsha that killed 22 people today and in Bauchi on Monday were "separate religious crises" and does not link either to the Danish cartoon controversy.

"The Bauchi crisis erupted Monday over the alleged desecration of the Holy Quran by a female teacher in a public secondary school in the state," the Lagos-based news site said. "The attack in Onitsha was reportedly in response to violence against the Igbo in some parts of Northern states."

It is true that the attacks on the Igbo, a mostly Christian ethnic group, originated in Muslim protests against the cartoons last weekend. But in the context of ongoing, often violent tensions between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria, Nigerian news reporters do not identify the Danish cartoons as the cause of the latest clashes.

Onitisha experienced "an orgy of sectarian violence as youth went on a rampage at the sight of dead bodies" of Christians killed earlier in the week, said the Guardian, another Lagos news site.

The Daily Independent described today's violence as "reprisal attacks" and did not make mention of Danish cartoons. In reporting the imposition of martial law in the afflicted area, This Day made no mention of the cartoons. Nor did the riot story in Vanguard.

For the Nigerian online media, the cause of the latest outbursts is less the Danish cartoons than the  legacy of Muslim-Christian tensions that began long before the European cartoonists caricatured the Prophet Muhammad.

The complexity of the Nigeria violence wasn't lost on one Reuters correspondent filing from Abuja who noted, "Cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, rumours of a Koran  desecration and opposition to constitutional change provided the catalysts for four days of fighting between Muslims and Christians in predominantly Muslim northern cities. Then there were revenge attacks in one mainly Christian southern city.  But in Africa's most populous country the underlying causes  of sectarian clashes are often political and observers say this  round of violence is no exception."

By Jefferson Morley |  February 22, 2006; 2:44 PM ET  | Category:  Africa
Previous: Afro-Disillusion | Next: Arabs Blame 'Bigotry' for Port Storm

Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



The jihad against the Nigerian Christians
is the latest eruption of the universal jihad. Islamic thuggs terrorize the christians in the name of Mohammedism,
the star and cresent which will soon be flying over the major ports in the United States, an Islamic trojan horse

Posted by: donvan | February 22, 2006 03:23 PM

http://www.macedonianinitiative.org

Posted by: HKT | February 22, 2006 03:58 PM

Islam is the one common component of every major conflict on this planet from New York, to London, to Madrid, to France, to Jerusalem, Amman, Beirut, Kandahar, Darfur, Mogadishu, Baghdad, Manila, Moscow, Beslan, Jakarta, to Bali, and everywhere else they have a footprint. Arab militias murder Christians in the Sudan and now again in the Nigerian north. And the western media is mostly mum. The western media has a baffling sympathy for these murdering, misogynistic, homophobic religious zealots. If it were Christians rioting in all these cities and countries, demanding curbs to free speech on behalf of "their prophet," western media would be having a field day blasting Christians. But these cowards cringe at the Islamofascists. What a bunch of disingenuous dhimmis, emboldening those who despise everything these "post-humanists" claim they stand for.

Posted by: Eric Cartman's Conscience | February 22, 2006 04:33 PM

Yeah! You tell 'em Eric, you just TELL 'EM!

Posted by: Kaye | February 22, 2006 04:59 PM

Islam, unfortunately, is the parasite of much of the world. The West, including President Bush, does not recognize the similarity to the rise of Nazi Germany. The storm is coming. All you have to do is go to Friday prayers, listen, and apply a little bit of common sense. The world is in grave peril.

Posted by: Peter Cook | February 22, 2006 05:01 PM

The latest Nigerian mayhem has nothing to do with religion, it is against a leaders ambition to perpetuate himself in government. The eruption of violence in Maiduguri and Katsina was directly as a result of the proposed public hearing on the amendment of the constitution. The Enugu state mayhem was caused by Governor Nnamani's reckless statements to the effect that he supports the 3rd term bid of the president.

The International community should wise up to the antics of the Nigerian government of misrepresenting the facts to suit the occassion.

Take for example the violence in the Niger -Delta... how do explain that the region was receiving only 3% derivation during ABACHA and it was calmer than it is now with 13% derivation...something is really amiss.

Posted by: adebola | February 22, 2006 05:43 PM

Islamists will commit murders for every trivial excuse. Their latest slaughter of Christian Ibos over a cartoon they know nothing about is beyond belief. President Bush is right to try to stop this cancer of Islamic violence.

Posted by: emy | February 22, 2006 05:53 PM

I have come to believe that the radical extremists have completely taken over as the representatives of Islam to the rest of the world. These fascists are incapable of sectarian co-existence and want nothing less than violent global domination. I fear that we are merely in the first stage of what may become known as the World (un)Holy War of the 21st century.

Posted by: Derek | February 22, 2006 05:53 PM

Have any of you people paid attention to what's being said in the article. There are numerous factors to the violence in Nigeria. There have been just as many massacres of Muslims by Christians there as massacres of Christians by Muslims.

Eric, you say that if Christians were rioting, the media would be having a field day blasting Christians. Not so - the current brutal killing of Muslims that's going on in Nigeria s hardly being covered at all. You have to do some searching to find the details of Muslims being burnt alive and disemboweled. Now if Muslims did something like that, you'd say it proves all Muslims are barbaric.

Posted by: Aamer | February 22, 2006 06:29 PM

Derek is basically right-- except that this confrontation of Islam against everyone else is not new but 1300 year old. We had a East West confrontation that was very intense for 70 years but now it is back to the historic religious war of ways of life. Israel is in the forefront of the attack but a very minor player that is conviniently blamed for everything by the moslems and especially the Arabs. the West is arming the Muslims for the greed of money and also giving military knowledge and nuclear knowledge that is used against them!!
The joke of fate is could be funny but what a price to pay!!

Posted by: natan | February 22, 2006 06:36 PM

Aamer,
you easily forgot riots in Onitsha started when bodies of christian Ibos started arriving from muslim north.

Posted by: emy | February 22, 2006 06:37 PM

The violence in nigeria is multifactorial but one of the foremost reasons is the tentency towards violence of the moslem faith. while the unconstitutional power grab by president obasanjo is highly unpopular amongst nigerians of all religions and ethnic groups, it is only the moslem north that will see this as another oppurtunity to murder christians especially ibos, and burn churches.The US had better think twice if they are going to support this closet dictator, let the addiction to oil not blind them to the dangerous path this present Nigerian government is taking this strategic country.

Posted by: Jenny | February 22, 2006 07:26 PM


Many people bear the misconception that all Muslims are Arabs, and all Arabs are Muslim. Not so. In fact, Arabs comprise a relatively small percentage of Muslims worldwide, and the majority are in areas such as Africa, China, Phillipines and Russia. Violence between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria is hardly something new.

Posted by: Astrolabe | February 23, 2006 09:09 AM

this is not about the government or unease over president Obasanjo's 3rd term bid. This is about Christians standing up and saying "enough is enough" with all the madness and incessant bloodletting by the Muslims in Nigeria. Although bloodletting is bad, I think it is a necessary evil. The muslims will now realize that Christians are capable of retaliating if attacked. After the Christians make their point, there will be peace.

Posted by: Donne | February 23, 2006 09:17 AM

I think Donne exposes how illogical sectarian violence often is: each side justifies their violence as a means to peace and fails to consider ther side feels EXACTLY the same way. A fued develops and nobody remembers what REALLY started the argument; now the focus is on revenge for the last attack.

Only when both sides say "enough is enough" to this form of violence from EITHER SIDE will the violence end.

This should also be a warning to those in America who seek to make this war against radicals into a war against Islam. The radicals need no justification to attack us... let's not make the mistake of attacking those not involved and giving them justification to retaliate.

Posted by: Tola | February 23, 2006 11:17 AM

Aamer,
Get your facts right before you speak. The violence in Onitsha was a reprisal attack for the killing of Igbo brothers and Sisters in Maiduguri and Katsina.The riot started when bodies of Christian Ibos arrived from the North in a bus.Igbo Christains were killed in the North by the fanatical muslimsand this is not the first time it has occured.What has Christains in Nigeria got to do with the Danish cartoon or the alleged desecration by a teacher.Islamists will commit murders for every trivial excuse and it is totally barbaric,senseless and disheartening.Enough is enough and the Christain wont condone anymore.
Aamer,caution your muslim brethrens

Posted by: chiny | February 23, 2006 11:31 AM

I find the ease with which so many members of the public amalgamate Moslems and Islamic-fundamentalist terrorists extremely alarming and sickening. People should not forget that Islam is a religion that encourages peace and conciliation, just as Christianity does. Of course, as with the majority of religious texts, the Koran may be interpreted in various ways and either be used maliciously to promote harm or be used beneficially to promote PEACE!

It is incredibly naïve of Donne to believe that, "after the Christians make their point, there will be peace". Attempts at curbing violence with violence are ridiculous and have failed in the past, are failing now and will fail in the future. Even if violence does stop temporarily, resentment and anger will still remain and eventually erupt in the future because such adverse tension cannot remain dormant for long. Furthermore, true Christians should never condone or encourage violence let alone murder of other human beings. Jesus Christ himself preached both forgiveness and social harmony even when faced with the agony of torture and crucifixion.

Donne, it is people like you that cultivate the prejudice and discrimination that exist in many parts of the world towards peace-loving, innocent Moslems. As a Christian, I will remind you all that judging people based on their religion is just as dangerous and unjust as racism or sexism is today.

Tola's comments have been the most sensible and valuable so far.

ps- please watch a new show called "sleeper cell" if you get the chance to. it can be a bit didactic but it does a good job of showing that there are many different parts of the Islamic world!

Posted by: ngozi | February 23, 2006 10:11 PM

Chiny, your comments were just as disgusting and troubling as Donne's. By telling Aamer to caution his "muslim brethren" you imply that all members of the Muslim community must be cautioned. This is RIDICULOUS! Should I chastize YOU because some Christian in some part of the world has done something wrong?

Posted by: ngozi | February 23, 2006 10:17 PM

It is preposterous to keep trumpeting a religion as a religion of peace when its only language and weaponry to fight grievances of any kind and size is violence, the use of the sword and the matchetor massive destruction. Whether persons like it or not Islam has a whole lot of good things to learn about peaceful co-existence, forgiveness and tolerance from Christianity and the earlier they start the lessons the better for humanity.

Posted by: bobo | February 24, 2006 07:11 AM

i strongly believe that people should live together in harmony irespective of religion or social class.because violence and loss of lives is definately not the answer to a peaceful co-existence.

Posted by: Andy Etiobio | February 24, 2006 09:36 PM

i strongly believe that people should live together in harmony irespective of religion or social class.because violence and loss of lives is definately not the answer to a peaceful co-existence.

Posted by: Andy Etiobio | February 24, 2006 09:37 PM

P6Ss9nnN0WqA mdPvH2GjfGaUt1 6iXZ3p6K5g

Posted by: tE4ZuoXWDe | February 25, 2006 04:34 AM

Islamophobes galore!

Posted by: Zain | February 25, 2006 08:33 AM

Hey Islamophobes, have you heard of the the Niger Delta Republic Movement, Nigeria's main "terrorist" organisation?

They're currently holding nine Western hostages including three of God's Chosen People.

They've also vowed to destroy the Western oil companies in the region, notably Shell and Chevron. And, oh yeah...they're Christians.

As it happens, the MND are not evil people. They're just tired of being robbed of their resources, having their environment trashed, and getting gunned down every time they complain about it. You know, the sort of things that make people terrorists. Whatever their religion.

Why are Arab Muslims attacking the West while Africans, who annually kill far more people by violence, are mostly killing each other?

Because Arabs are relatively homogenous and united while Africans are split into hundreds of rival ethnic groups.

All you Baptist historians had better hope the Africans never DO unite against those who are responsible for so much of their misery.

Your ridiculous Clash of Civilizations garbage would have a hard time explaining away a load of Christian terrorist organisations.

That time may well be coming. Nigeria is one of the three biggest importers of oil to the US. So I have a feeling you'll all be hearing more about the MND.

But since we're all looking for ridiculous sectarian reasons to explain violence, perhaps somebody could explain what makes Baptists such murderous kleptomaniacs?

The average Baptist is rich and comofortable. In fact most of them seem to weigh about 400lbs. Yet they can't stop invading and destroying countries that have never harmed them. And they continually spout vile racial theories that remind most people of Adolf Hitler. I guess Southern Baptism is just an evil religion.

Posted by: OD | February 25, 2006 05:01 PM

In fact the Baptists' evil plans even extend to the Jews, whom they claim to love.

They love to bang on about their support for Israel, but their actual theology demands that 'Greater Israel' be consumed in a vast war that will herald their 'Rapture', which most seem to think is right around the corner. That's why they hate all MidEast peace initiatives.

Once they've got their Second Coming, the Jews, having served their purpose, will be cast into Satan's subterranean Abu Ghraib, to be tortured for the crime of being Jewish.

There the Jews will face an eternity of red-hot ass pokers, along with all the Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Catholics, liberals, gays, Frenchmen and other foreigners.

Want to shut up/piss off an American Baptist? Just ask them what their idiotic theology holds in store for the Jews.

What a pack of hypocrites. No wonder most of their preachers seem to be professional con-men.

Posted by: OD | February 25, 2006 06:26 PM

you are sick

Posted by: The Notorious O | February 26, 2006 01:10 AM

...or maybe I'm Jewish.

Posted by: OD | February 26, 2006 08:22 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2006 The Washington Post Company