The Redeemed Christian Church of God has turned into something of a phenomenon. It has grown massively and has churches in 160 countries. Its leader pastor Enoch Adeboye is a near celebrity, extremely wealthy and has a private jet. An inside look at one of their sermons…
Great video by Sahara TV interviewing Al-Jazeera’s Yvonne Ndege who visited Maiduguri in Borno State. Due to Boko Haram activities in the the state’s , and the Joint Task Force’s (JTF) heavy presence, the state has been heavily militarised.
While residents welcome the JTF’s presence, daily life has been badly affected with normal routine civilian life being heavily disrupted by fighting between Boko Haram and the JTF, JTF curfews between 9pm and 6am. However residents are so frightened that they do not leave their homes before 11am since gun battles between the JTF and Boko haram tend to rage in the early morning.
Some residents also accuse the JTF of indiscriminately arresting civilians whom they suspect of being Boko Haram members, and of summarily executing suspects. In their defence, the JTF say it is next to impossible for them to distinguish civilians from Boko Haram members since Boko Haram members might live with family members who are not members.
Interesting film about Igbos that claim to be Jewish (claiming descent from one of the 12 “lost tribes of Israel”. They practise Judaism, rather than Igbos’ traditional Christianity. However not everyone believes this claims, with some alleging it is just a myth.
Violence in Plateau State between Muslim Fulani and Christian Birom. Is is about religion, ethnicity or the legal status of the “settler” and “indigene” dichotomy in Nigeria?
Military service is a compulsory requirement of most Israelis. However Israel has historically exempted ultra-orthodox religious Jews (“Haredim”) from military service. The exemption was originally granted by Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, and was meant to apply to a few hundred religious students.
However demographics and economic realities have overtaken the exemption. The Haredim are now the fastest growing segment of Israel’s population. They make up 10% of Israel’s population, 13% of Jewish males, and 25% of primary school pupils.
60% of Haredim men are not employed in mainstream economy, and estimates claim that their exemption costs Israel $750 million every year.
Forcing the Haredim to serve is likely to cause a showdown as many of them will resist military service. Expect a compromise. I don’t see Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu getting into a fight with the Haredim.
13.5 Jews worldwide, 81% of whom live in Israel or America.
Excellent piece in the Economist about Nigeria’s culture of celebrity mega-rich pastors and mega-churches. Preachers such as TB Joshua and David Oyedopo are household names with Forbes estimating the latter’s wealth at $150 million.
Churches and prayer are big business in Nigeria, and it is common for church members to pay 10% of their salary in tithes to the church every week. The mega-churches are like corporations and have their own broadcasting facilities, overseas offices, TV stations and PR machines. Faith Tabernacle and Christ’s Embassy are expanding into Ghana, Liberia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
It is odd that Christian preachers are rich in a religion started by a poor carpenter’s son born in a manger…
The rise of prosperity preaching has to be contextualised against the background of Nigerian society where spectacular wealth disparities exist with millionaires living next door to peasants, and people seeking get rich quick schemes at every opportunity. In seeking wealth – the churches and congregation have the same goal…
Great report by the United States Institute for Peace. It has a very good historical assessment of Boko Haram and comparison to the 1980s religious sect led by Maitatsine. Excellent reading for those wanting a detailed insight into Boko Haram. Key points:
*Boko Haram’s origins lie in a group of radical Islamist youth who worshipped at the Alhaji Muhammadu Ndimi Mosque in Maiduguri. In 2002, an offshoot of this youth group (not yet known as Boko Haram) declared the city and the Islamic establishment to be intolerably corrupt and irredeemable. The splinter faction withdrew and set up base in a village called Kanama in Yobe State, near Nigeria’s border with Niger.
*In 2003 they got into a local dispute which led to a gunfight between its members and the police. This incident led locals to nickname them the “Nigerian Taliban”. During this clash with the police Boko Haram’s then leader Mohammed Ali was killed.
*The survivors of the 2003 clash with the police returned to Maiduguri under the leadership of Mohammed Yusuf and built a new mosque in Maiduguri called the Ibn Taimiyyah Masjid. The new mosque was built on land owned by Mohammed Yusuf’s father-in-law, Baba Fugu Mohammed.
*The turning point for the group came when en route to a funeral, the group’s members got into an argument with police officers. Gunfire was exchanged. After this incident Boko Haram claimed that its members were unfairly imprisoned or arrested by the police. Boko Haram then carried out retaliatory attacks on the police, which brought them to national attention and led the army and the police to crack down on Boko Haram and imprison or summarily execute its members, including its leader Mohammed Yusuf.
*The name “Boko Haram” is not actually the name the group gave itself. The name was appellated to the group by observers and neighbours as a pejorative reference to the group’s preoccupation with criticising Western norms and education.