Contemporary Multi Religious AND Peaceful Coexistence OF Islam in Nigeria’S State
According to Karl Marx; Religion is the opium of the masses, the sop of the oppressed while Sigmund Freud defined it as a childhood fear or neuroses. The foregoing definition indicates that religion is a product of fear and insecurity. Religion serves as a unifying factor among adherents who share a belief system but it should be noted that it also becomes a divisive factor among those who share different belief systems. Various religions exist in the world and a few of them are consistently at loggerheads with each other because each claims a monopoly of a supreme being or all powerful deities who direct and guide the affairs of the society. The constant clashes between various religions in a multicultural society tend to lead to the violation of universal human rights, intolerance and unforgiveness since such societies are marked by mistrust, intolerance and fear. The most notorious religions exhibiting intolerance the world over are Islam and Christianity because of their rabid belief in the supremacy of their deity. These two religions have been at loggerheads for a long time. Although they both claim to be religions of peace and love respectively but have practiced hatred and warfare consistently. This hypocritical mien creates a cause for concern given the stark difference between the theory and practice of their religion. This paper focuses on the aptitude of peace as presented and practiced in Islamic adherents in a multicultural state like Nigeria. Islam; although indicating peace etymologically has precipitated the exhibition of disruptive, violent, religio-phobic, religio-centric and terrorist behaviours among adherents in the Nigerian state. Muslims have been known to have killed Christians and destroyed their properties indiscriminately during religious conflict in many cases. The Christians also did not waste time before revenging. This paper critically pinpoints how Islamic principles can be utilized to enforce and perpetuate peaceful coexistence as translated into human civic responsibility, democratic demeanor, responsible citizenship, cultured dialogue and tolerance among the peoples in the multicultural society of Nigeria.
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