Nigerian Violence Becoming a Culture, Warn Religion Teachers

Condemn Government´s Silence Over Expansion of Islamic Law

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ROME, FEB. 4, 2002 ( Religion teachers in Nigeria condemned the federal authorities´ silence in face of the spread of Islamic law, and they warned that violence is becoming a culture in itself.

The statement was signed at the end of the National Association of Directors of Religious Education (NADRE) Conference, held at the Pope John Paul II Pastoral Center of Ado-Ekiti from Jan. 14-18.

«We acknowledge the wisdom of silence; however, perpetuation of the different types of violence we are experiencing is not unconnected with Federal and State Government silence, or inadequate action on matters of national importance,» the participants´ statement said.

The directors of religious education explained: «No state in Nigeria is a religious state, as such; no religion should be preferred. Each religion is free to practice its own laws.»

«The direct causes of violence are greed and exploitation. Unfortunately, however, poverty is used as a handy excuse,» the directors added.

The conference participants urged the government «to intensify efforts to sustain programs that will uplift the standard of life of the people.»

«Violence in its various forms, [including] political, religious, cultural, environmental, gender, domestic, etc., is fast becoming a culture and must not be allowed to thrive,» the participants stressed.

«We call on people and government to take note of domestic violence against women and children, a silent but widespread phenomenon disguised as cultural practices,» the statement emphasized.

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