The Boko Haram “Islamists” 11 year old insurgency has left over 350,000 dead and over 2.9m in refugee camps in Nigeria
We must pause to reflect on what this tragedy means for Africa as a whole. Some have opportunistically spewed venom at Islam. They have sought to give legitimacy to the popular, albeit false argument, that Islamic extremism alone is the biggest threat to the stability of the continent. We dare not, even in our justified rage and frustration, buy into this cheap rhetoric, for the truth is, the problem in Africa is not Islamic extremism, it is extremism in whatever manifestation it is vehicled.
The brutality waged on innocent civilians by Al-Shabaab is no different to the brutality that Christian extremists the likes of the Lords Resistance Army has subjected our continent to. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, the Central African Republic, Sudan and Chad, villages have been torn asunder by this Christian extremist group who believe in the ten commandments, did Kony ever read a quran?. One can argue that the LRA is weakened and not a threat but they are the lord’s army. Mothers have watched their sons forced into militia groups, and sons have been forced to rape their mothers with AK47s on their heads. It has been a brutal reality, a violent war which governments of the affected counties are losing.
Africa is bleeding not because of Islamic extremists alone, but because of extremists on all fronts: Christian and Islamic alike. Our children are dying because some people regard their religions above humanity itself. We cannot afford to pretend that religious extremism is not killing our continent. We cannot afford to pretend that religious fundamentalism is not robbing us of things we hold most sacred: our own children, our own future as a civilisation. Religion should be the solution to turmoil, not the cause of it.
There is no religion worth killing for just as there is no religious cause worth dying for.