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Rage and Carnage in the Name of God: Religious Violence in Nigeria, Abiodun Alao

Reviewed by Mohammed Bashir Salau
 

In this book, the author contributes to the growing literature on religion and violence in contemporary Nigeria by departing from the approach that ignores the precolonial and/or colonial era(s) in its analysis, as well as by eschewing the approach that focuses narrowly “on a phenomenon specific subject or quasi-ethnographic cases” (14). The author also contributes to the literature by offering a critique of a claim often put forward by many scholars that a single factor was responsible for religious violence and by undermining the assumption that Christianity and traditional religions are not linked to violence in Nigeria. In pulling the rug out from under apologists of such assumptions, the author argues instead that religious violence has arisen largely because of numerous historical and contemporary factors and that no religion in Nigeria has a monopoly on violence.

To demonstrate his claims, the author, drawing on personal observation, secondary sources, and interviews with some local actors, dedicates chapter one to examining the development of Christianity, Islam, and traditional religion in Nigeria, highlighting the largely cordial relationship between the three religions prior to 1960 and how postindependence violence is shaped by three factors: colonial divisions, the manipulation of constitution by elites, and the mixing of religion with

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