n Conflict Trends - The peacebuilding potential of Islam : a response to the Boko Haram crisis

Volume 2014, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1561-9818


The role that religion plays in conflict and peacebuilding has generated a great deal of debate in academic circles. There are two broad strands in this debate: the perspective that views religion as inherently volatile and as the source of violent conflicts; and the counter-argument, which sees religion as a resource for peace. Particularly, it is the case that some Muslims have been complicit in engendering violent conflicts in different parts of the world. Their complicity in violent conflicts can be traced in history. In recent years, these conflicts have metamorphosed as religious issues mixed with political and ideological factors in various parts of the world. The Boko Haram crisis and the escalating violent attacks of this group in Nigeria is a case in point that serves to show the severity of this problem. However, in spite of its link to violent conflicts, many scholars argue that Islam has a role to play in peacebuilding.

This article interrogates the potential role of Islam in peacebuilding. The article is an advocacy piece that posits utilising the resources in Islam towards a sustainable resolution of the Boko Haram crisis. The aim is to present a tool of conflict transformation and peacebuilding that is based on the inner strengths and potential for peace in Islam. This is envisaged by John Paul Lederach in his theory called the Integrated Model of Peacebuilding.
The article first presents the theoretical framework on which the thesis of the paper is based. This is followed by a literature review that examines the historical role of Islam in engendering both peace and conflict, in particular in Nigeria. The final section interrogates the internal resources that Islam can mobilise for peacebuilding in Nigeria.

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