This page consists of two sections:
- All eight volumes of Studies in Christian-Muslim Relations, including comments and notes about the series and about each volume as well as additional papers originally meant to be included in the series.
- Other papers / articles on various Muslim subjects.
Nigeria’s Decades of Blood (1980-2002), volume 1
2003 Summary Notes – originally on back cover
WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN BETWEEN CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS?
This book tells you what is happening in a country where fifty million Muslims face fifty million Christians – Nigeria. Over the last twenty years, rivers of blood have flowed into the abyss. This book describes Nigeria’s religious riots and how it all happened – the killings, the violence, the arson of churches and mosques, homes and businesses.
The book answers these questions:
- Who started what?
- How did it get started?
- Who got hurt and how many people got killed?
- What did Christians do? And what of Muslims?
- What did the Government do about it? Or the police?
Author’s 2015 Explanation
This book starts with the year 1980. The above questions about the who and how should, of course, go back way beyond 1980. There was the Nigerian Civil War in 1969-1971 that dealt with similar issues. Even before that, the independence struggle against colonialism and the post-colonial decade in between, all of them were marked by Christian-Secular-Muslim tensions. Some Ibos have castigated me seriously for not including those earlier phases of the struggle. I can understand their frustration with me, though they should know that I was somewhat personally involved in the Ibo massacres in 1966, the year of my arrival in the country. I helped many of them escape from the Middle Belt to Cameroons and had a gun pointed at my temple. I had decided that I could not improve on all that had been written about those earlier years already.
Muslims: Why the Violence?, volume 2
2004 Summary Notes
This Volume 2 in the series extensively covers Muslim opinions and evaluations of Nigeria’s religious riots. An abundance of quotations allows Muslims to speak for themselves. This will be counterbalanced by the Nigerian Christian interpretation in Volume 3. Subsequent riots can be studied from the author’s Companion CD-Rom.
From back cover of hard copy edition:
- Why do Muslims riot, kill and destroy?
- Why do Christians riot, kill and destroy?
- Why should religion bring Nigeria constantly to the brink?
- Who is to blame for all this terror? Muslims? Christians?
- What are the causes for all this violence?
These are the questions this book answers from the Muslim point of view. This monograph is the second in the series Studies in Christian-Muslim Relations. It covers extensively Muslim opinions and evaluations of Nigerian riots. An abundance of quotations allows Muslims to speak for themselves.
Vol. 1 describes the Nigerian riots themselves. Vol. 3 will give the Nigerian Christian perspective on these riots. Later volumes will deal with pother issues that cause friction between the two religions. The overall aim of this series is to help both constituencies work towards a solution of which both will be proud.
The Series: Studies in Christian-Muslim Relations
Author's Preliminary Comments on the series:
This series of studies deals with Christian-Muslim relations. Though I concentrate on Nigeria, it is Nigeria as a case study with global implications.
- What dynamics develop when you have two large blocks of these religions living together? These large blocks are some 80 million each!
- What happens when you have these two aggressive missionary religions competing for a place in the sun?
- What happens when a once almost supreme Muslim community is confronted with an emerging Christian community that has woken up to a growing sense of political awareness and power?
- What happens when you have a confrontation between a Muslim community that vehemently rejects secularism in favour of sharia and a Christian community that insists on a form of secularism?
- What happens when both communities are fearful, mistrusting of and angry with each other so that they can no longer hear each other out?
The flow of events in Nigeria is a powerful example of how things are not to be done from either side. I expect that many Nigerians who read these monographs will feel deeply ashamed of the violence they unleash on each other in the name of their respective religions. They should! Especially now that their violence is perpetrated before the face of the entire world. They defile not only the name of their people, but also of their two major religions.
After 30 years in the country as a missionary and having experienced and researched all these events together with my Nigerian brothers and sisters, I need to own up to these events as much as Nigerians. Missionaries contributed to the problems in a serious and foundational way that puts me to shame as well. We have been part of the tremendous growth of the Church in Nigeria, but it cannot be denied that the way we have brought the Gospel was not “altogether lovely.” The series will explain the how and why of missionary culpability.
But these studies are not written only or even primarily to embarrass Nigerians, though I hope that shame will play a constructive role here. The main purpose is to arrive at some parameters within which they can develop more positive relations with each other, relations of respect and tolerance that will allow both religions to flourish within the one nation.
These relations have been bedeviled by untold blood shed and destruction ever since the 1970s. The series describes and explains the riots themselves and the issues of confrontation. Most of the study concentrates on the opinions of Nigerian Muslims and Christians themselves by providing extensive quotations and appendices, especially from the media. Each volume deals with a separate aspect of the relationship.
These studies do away with political correctness and religious wishful thinking. We are encouraged to get real. The fatal influence and role of a soft kind of secularism in these relationships in Nigeria come across very pointedly. The weak inheritance of a dualistic gospel transmitted by Christian missions also is explained and constitutes a major reason for confusion in Nigeria. Muslim aggressiveness is another major reason.
What This Series Seeks to Accomplish
- To contribute to the search for a solution to Nigeria's religious violence by establishing some necessary parameters.
- To demonstrate the horrors and dangers that arise when religious institutions are distorted into power blocks and parties or into weapons of manipulation instead of vehicles for service.
- To illustrate that secularism…
- Leads to anger and resentment among Muslims.
- Derails Christian thought.
- Prevents rapprochement between the two religions.
- Is not a suitable solution in Nigeria due to secularism's anemic view of religion, its arrogance, self-delusion and partiality.
- To help Christians develop a more Biblical and wholistic view of their religion.
- To demonstrate to Muslims that the picture of dualistic Christianity they have been given is an impoverished version and that a healthier, more wholistic version exists.
- To urge Muslims to adjust and update their traditional sense of pluralism and tolerance to the current situation in Nigeria.
- To convince the secular West that it must take religion seriously, respect it – not merely tolerate it – and incorporate it into their political equations.
Some of these goals will be implied, not argued.
About Author Boer
Dr. Jan H. Boer – aka “John,” the English equivalent – was born in The Netherlands and immigrated to British Columbia, Canada, with his parental family during his teens. At age 20, after becoming a Canadian citizen, he promptly left the country and spent 43 years abroad, as a student in Europe and the USA and as an inter-church worker in Nigeria. He returned to “retire” in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he wrote most of this series. For more details about his life and career as well as other books he has written, turn to the About and Boeriana pages of his website.
Boer served for 30 years in Nigeria, during which time he observed and experienced very closely the interplay between that country’s Christians and Muslims. He developed a Christian-Muslim archive on the subject that contains extensive newspaper and magazine articles, mostly in English, but some in the Hausa language, quite a number from now defunct publications no longer available. He also gathered many conference reports and lectures both in hard and electronic format, quite a few rare documents no longer available, many of them in English, some in the Hausa language. And, of course, throughout his writing, he made grateful use of the internet with its wealth of scholarly and other documents on the subject.
During that same time period, Boer took time to obtain his doctorate from the Free University of Amsterdam with his dissertation Missionary Messengers of Liberation in a Colonial Context: A Case Studu of the Sudan United Mission, a tome of 530 pages. This constitutes a thorough examination of the relationship of colonialism and religion in Nigeria, an issue that even today plays an important role in the Christian-Muslim struggle of that country. That study forms the backdrop to the current series you are about to examine. It provided Boer with the tools to understand the current bitter disagreements between the two. (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1979. See also the more popular summary with the title, Missions: Heralds of Capitalism or Christ? Ibadan: Daystar Press, 1984.) The text of the summary is completely available on the Boeriana page of this website.
Simultaneously, Boer studied the worldview issues that also have given shape to the interplay between these two religions. He discovered that the dualistic separation of religion and secularism, imported by Western missionaries, has shortchanged Christians in their understanding of and approach to their Muslim neighbours who tend to hold to a more comprehensive and dynamic perspective on religion. And then, of course, there is the aggressive Nigerian Muslim attitude towards da’wah or missionary outreach, a right they claim for themselves but deny to others.
Boer has done thorough research for which academics praise him. His academic background and life experience have fully equipped him for this series. But, a natural free-lancer, he has taken freedom in his use of popular language and expressions, sometimes breaking out into humorous bylines in Hausa or Nigerian English. So, academic-level research; personal expression. Sometimes humorous; sometimes very personal. As one reviewer put it, “Boer writes as he speaks.” Not quite, perhaps, but close – sometimes!
Publication / Distribution Info:
|Original Publishers||Essence Publishing Company|
|A Print-On-Demand Company|
|Belleville ON, Canada|
|Publishers in Nigeria||ACTS – Africa Christian Textbooks|
|(free of charge – volume by volume)|
|(free of charge – volume by volume)|
|Here, right where you are!|