African Pentecostalism: An Introduction

By Ogbu Kalu | Go to book overview

12
Child of the Bondwoman

Islam and Sharia in Pentecostal Rhetoric:
A Nigerian Case Study

1. Introduction

A major aspect of Pentecostal political theology is the lack of a viable theology of dialogue in an increasingly pluralistic public space. This is crucial because the rise of Pentecostalism is implicated in the dysfunctional role of religion in the public space. The democratization of the public space has created an increased level of public participation, allowed many voices and vested interest groups to seek a hearing, and nurtured a variety of political pressure groups wielding religious agendas. This enlargement of the public space has been worsened by the weakness of the state in controlling the unleashed ferment. In all countries, political violence has increased. In the Horn of Africa, as well as Tanzania, Malawi, and Kenya, Muslims are contesting the political system built in the 1960s. The intensified level of religious violence around the globe and especially in Africa is a disconcerting dimension of the twenty-first century. Some argue that religions have an innate affirmation of violence; that, in spite of the many levels of meaning given to the word jihad, it demands the use of force, and especially violence, to protect religion, and that Christianity’s track record is no better in this aspect than any other religion. This chapter will examine the various discourses, especially that of the Pentecostal dimension, by focusing on the religious conflict between Muslims and Christians in Africa, using a Nigerian case study.

Nigeria is a good case study because of the numerical strength of the two Abrahamic religions, the clear geographical concentration of the populations of both religions, the importance of oil in

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