Dysfunctional exclusion within Christian/Muslim relationships in Gombe state, Nigeria : a co-pathic approach

Tuduks, Oholiabs D. (2015-03)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Dysfunctional exclusion between Christians and Muslims in Northern Nigeria in general, and Gombe State in particular, is understood to be a trigger of religious crises in Northern Nigeria. History has shown that Northern Nigeria has been experiencing religious crises from 1980 to the present. The crises have grossly affected the relationship between these two religious groups, despite the fact that they all live in the same community and in some cases in the same family. The reoccurrence of religious crises has created fear and suspicion of one another between the adherents of the two religions, thus giving more ground to the practice of dysfunctional exclusion. In 1999, the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) formed a forum, called the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), for the purpose of tackling the problems of dysfunctional exclusion and religious crises between Christians and Muslims. Dialogue is one of the most relied approaches adopted by NIREC in addressing the challenges. Unfortunately the application of dialogue among the Christians and Muslims in Gombe state has not been effective as the problem of dysfunctional exclusion persist. This calls for reconsideration of the application of dialogue or to consider an alternative approach which will effectively deal with the dysfunctional exclusion among the two religious adherents in Gombe state. As a contribution to the fight against dysfunctional exclusion, I suggests a co-pathic approach. The research question is can co-pathy effectively contribute in addressing the challenge of dysfunctional exclusion within Christian/Muslim relationships? This will be answered with a focus on the outlined goals of the research following the methodology of Richard Osmer (2008) – the four tasks of practical theology. First, the descriptive-empirical task; this task answers the question what is going on? It examines the practice of dysfunctional exclusion among the Christians and Muslims. Second, the interpretive task, which answers the question why is this going on? This will discuss the concept of co-pathy, and its relevant application to the Christian/Muslim relationship. Third, the normative task; this task answers the question what ought to be going on? It explores a co-pathic theological foundation for interreligious understanding. And lastly, the pragmatic task answers the question how might we respond? This presents, in the concluding chapter, the contribution of the research to the fight against dysfunctional exclusion. The research will create an awareness of a pluralistic religious society and the need for interreligious understanding and consciousness. Co-pathy will be used as a point of convergence between Muslims and Christians and will stand at the centre of their relationships, as both religions recognise and value the virtue of co-pathy. This will motivate the life of togetherness in passion, thus paving the way for the recognition of each other‘s religion with regard, tolerating religious practices, and considering one another as members of the same community without religious segregation. The research is significant, as the issue of dysfunctional exclusion dehumanises and triggers religious crises, which have claimed many lives in the northern states of Nigeria.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Wanfunksionele uitsluiting onder Christene en Moslems in Noord-Nigerië in die algemeen, en in Gombe Staat spesifiek, gee aanleiding tot godsdienstige krisisse in Noord-Nigerië. Die geskiedenis toon dat Noord-Nigerië sedert 1980 godsdienstige krisisse ervaar. Hierdie krisisse het 'n groot effek op die verhouding tussen hierdie twee godsdienstige groepe, ten spyte daarvan dat hulle almal in dieselfde gemeenskap, en soms in dieselfde gesin, woon. Die herhaling van godsdienstige krisisse het gelei tot vrees en agterdog tussen die navolgers van die twee godsdienste, wat nog meer gronde gee vir die praktyk van wanfunksionele uitsluiting. In 1999 het die Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) en die Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) 'n forum gevorm met die naam Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) om probleme met betrekking tot wanfunksionele uitsluiting en godsdienstige krisisse tussen Christene en Moslems te hanteer. Dialoog is die benadering wat die meeste deur NIREC gebruik word om die uitdagings aan te spreek. Ongelukkig was die toepassing van dialoog tussen Christene en Moslems in Gombe Staat nie effektief nie, aangesien die probleem van wanfunksionele uitsluiting voortduur. Dit vereis dus 'n heroorweging van die toepassing van dialoog, of om 'n alternatiewe benadering te oorweeg wat doeltreffend met die wanfunksionele uitsluiting onder die twee godsdienstige groeperinge in Gombe Staat sal kan handel. As 'n bydrae tot die stryd teen wanfunksionele uitsluiting, stel ek 'n ko-patiese (copathic) benadering voor. My navorsingsvraag is kan ko-patie doeltreffend bydra tot die aanspreek van die uitdaging van wanfunksionele uitsluiting in Christen/Moslemverhoudings. Dit sal beantwoord word deur te fokus op die doelwitte van die navorsing volgens die metodologie van Richard Osmer (2008) – die vier take van praktiese teologie. Eerstens, die beskrywende-empiriese taak; dit antwoord die vraag, wat gaan aan? Dit ondersoek die praktyk van wanfunksionele uitsluiting onder Christene en Moslems. Tweede, die verklarende taak, wat die vraag beantwoord – hoekom gaan dit aan? Hier sal ek die konsep van ko-patie en die relevante toepassing daarvan op die Christen/Moslem-verhouding bespreek. Derdens, die normatiewe taak; hierdie taak antwoord die vraag, wat behoort aan te gaan? Dit verken 'n ko-patiese teologiese fondament vir intergodsdienstige verstandhouding. En laastens, die pragmatiese taak, wat die vraag, hoe kan ons reageer? beantwoord. In die finale hoofstuk stel ek die bydrae van hierdie navorsing voor in die stryd teen wanfunksionele uitsluiting. Hierdie navorsing sal bewussyn skep van 'n pluralistiese godsdienstige samelewing en die behoefte aan intergodsdienstige begrip en bewussyn. Ko-patie sal gebruik word as 'n punt van konvergensie tussen Moslems en Christene en sentraal in hulle verhoudings staan, aangesien beide godsdienste die deug van ko-patie erken en waarde daaraan heg. Dit sal die lewe van samesyn in passie motiveer en dus die weg berei vir die erkenning van mekaar se godsdiens met agting, die verdra van godsdienstige praktyke en 'n beskouing van mekaar as lede van dieselfde gemeenskap sonder godsdienstige afsondering. Die navorsing is betekenisvol omdat die kwessie van wanfunksionele uitsluiting mense ontmens en godsdienstige krisisse veroorsaak, wat al baie lewens in die noordelike state van Nigerië geëis het.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/96483
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