Hunger Drives Sectarian Conflict in Africa

Hunger, not religion, is the root cause of conflict in sub-Saharan Africa, said Charles Steinmetz of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. “A hungry man is an angry man. If there is no job and you cannot feed your family or kids, it leads to extremism,” said Steinmetz, a visiting assistant professor of history. He used as an example the rampages of the Boko Haram in northern Nigeria. Steinmetz said the Islamic extremist group, which has killed 250 people in recent attacks, including 59 children, “sees the government as unable to assist the people.” Though it appears that the violence comes from religious differences, in many ways “it is almost coincidental that these issues break across religious lines,” Steinmetz said. An underlying cause of conflict in Nigeria is the legacy of colonialism. Colonial powers in Nigeria gave more aid and infrastructure to the southern part of the country. Now the development of the South has led to a much stronger economy. “The North is so far behind,” Steinmetz said, that resentments have caused even moderate northern Nigerians to side with the radical group.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

It has more to do with prophecy than politics.
Jonathan MerrittDecember 11, 2017
iStock photo
A federal judge wrote that it is unlikely church officials would be able to prove that their constitutional rights were being violated.
Michael J. O’LoughlinDecember 11, 2017
The ‘chaos candidate’ is now our pyromaniac president.
Margot PattersonDecember 11, 2017
At first Father Flanagan rejected the idea of a film, but he signed on after he saw a script that he liked.
Kevin LawlerDecember 11, 2017