Hoping to reduce interreligious violence, Christian and Muslim leaders in northern Bauchi state recently started the Movement for Peace.

Dalhat Liman-Katagum, the movement's Muslim cochairman (who serves with a Christian), said, "We, as Christians and Muslims, must learn to live in peace and be tolerant with one another."

Thousands of Nigerians have died in religious and ethnic mayhem during the past year. Hundreds of thousands have fled their homes (CT, Oct. 7, p. 28). "We as religious leaders, pastors, imams, traditional rulers, and agents of the government must work together," said Iliya Ciroma of the Christian Association of Nigeria.

Twelve northern Nigerian states (including Bauchi with 2.9 million people) have adopted Muslim Shari'ah law since 1999. Islamic laws call for punishments such as stoning, amputation of hands, and floggings. In April a 15-year-old was sentenced to amputation for theft.

When Christian and Muslim leaders met in September in Abuja, the centrally located federal capital, they were sharply divided over Shari'ah. Christians told their Muslim counterparts that Islamic laws should not apply to Christians. Muslim leaders in turn accused Christians of intolerance. Yet both sides said they would pursue peaceful coexistence.

Related Elsewhere

For more on Nigeria and Shari'ah, see Yahoo's Full Coverage and AllAfrica.com

Previous Christianity Today coverage of religious tensions in Nigeria include:

'A Blast of Hell'500,000 people uprooted, thousands dead in violence. (Sept. 24, 2002)
Where Adultery Means DeathPolitical and religious leaders clash in Nigeria over the increased use of Islamic law (May 8, 2002)
Archbishop Proposes to Die in Place of Woman Sentenced to StoningOkogie's offer is a protest against Nigeria's Islamic Shari'ah law. (Feb. 25, 2002)
Chronic Violence Claims 2,000 LivesThe adoption of Islamic law in northern Nigeria has ignited conflict between Christians and Muslims. (Jan. 7, 2002)
Hundreds of Christians Take Shelter in Barracks After Riots in NigeriaSome report that violence since mid-October has left more than 200 dead. (Nov. 1, 2001)
Religious Riots in Nigeria Leave Hundreds DeadLeaders condemn the use of religion as a tool for violence. (Oct. 2, 2001)
Orphaned and WidowedChristian families devastated since Shari'ah law adopted. (August 29, 2001)
Christians and Muslims at Odds Over Nigerian ConstitutionCalls made to limit Shari'ah law in Northern states. (July 12, 2001)
Nigeria Officials Press Northern Governors to Scale Back Islamic LawChurches harassed by Islamic youths purporting to enforce the law. (June 14, 2001)
Five Anglicans in Court After Rescuing Teenagers From Arranged MarriagesPriests claim Christian sisters are being forced into Islam. (June 5, 2001)
The Shari'ah ThreatMuslim Fundamentalist law troubles Christians and some Muslims. (Feb. 2, 2001)
'Focused, Determined, Deliberate' DestructionEcumenical leader calls on Nigeria to deal with religious violence between Muslims and Christians. (Oct. 30, 2000)
Nigerian Muslims and Christians Form a Religious CouncilGombe, a north Nigerian state, creates a council of faiths to deal with fears over Islamic law. (Sept. 19, 2000)
Churches Challenge Islamic LawChristians plan to take Shari'ah to court. (Aug. 15, 2000)
Is Nigeria Moving Toward War?Deadly riots lead to suspension of Islamic law. (March 31, 2000)
Nigeria On the Brink of Religious WarNorthern states adopt Islamic law, increasing Christian-Muslim tensions. (Dec. 16, 1999)
Nigeria's Churches Considering Legal Challenge to Islamic LawsThird state moving toward implementing Koranic laws (Dec. 17, 1999)
Can Christianity and Islam Coexist and Prosper?Is peace with Islam possible? (Oct. 25, 1999)

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