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

Father Ireneusz Ekiert, administrator of Mary Help of Christians Church in Parkland, Fla., leads parishioners during an outdoor Stations of the Cross service on Feb. 16 dedicated to the victims and survivors of the deadly mass shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. (CNS photo/Tom Tracy)
In the midst of the unimaginable, Father Ekiert is telling his parishioners to show and live love daily—not just in a time of grief and horror.
Kate SteinFebruary 20, 2018
When I played hockey, other players of color were few and far between.
Antonio De Loera-BrustFebruary 20, 2018
Five years later, looking back on a momentous day in the life of the church
James Martin, SJFebruary 18, 2018