n African Renaissance - Bridging the divide in Christian-Muslim relations in Nigeria : a study of inter-religious dialogue

Volume 7 Number 3-4
  • ISSN : 1744-2532
  • E-ISSN: 2516-5305


The history of relations between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria has been predominantly one of long-lasting discord and is more complex than just a contention between two communities or two system of beliefs. Over two decades, Nigeria has witnessed a series of encounters between these two religious communities. In short, the relations of the two faith communities have been formed through the dialectic of cooperation and conflict, tolerance and hatred, dialogue and debate. Differences in values, interests, and opinions will always exist and can be a normal part of social interaction. There is a growing concern, however, that the divides between Christian and Muslim groups, will remain an important and growing source of antagonism and violent conflict in Nigeria for decades to come. Clearly, rising alienation between Muslim and Christian communities already has reinforced negative stereotypes about religion and culture of both faith communities, and has created important challenges to peace and sustainable development that must be addressed. It is within this context that this paper examines the underlying issues in Christian-Muslim relations and religious conflicts; it then explores the place of inter-religious dialogue as an intervention mechanism towards bridging the divide, promoting understanding, and improving Christian-Muslim relations, which are necessary for national peace and development.

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