Sunday, November 24, 2002

A religious sister ministering in Nigeria offers her perspective:

Sister Carrozzo has been living in Nigeria for 16 years. Five years ago, she moved from Lagos to Kaduna, site of high tension and ethnic-religious clashes between Muslims and Christians. "The violence arrived just as a summer storm, at a moment that everybody more or less expected," the religious said. "Over the last few months there were only talks about peace and living together pacifically. Then all of a sudden, pandemonium" broke out. At least 1 million people live in Kaduna, and both religious groups claim to be in the majority. In an interview with Misna, Sister Carrozzo explained the scenario in which the violence broke out. A crowd of Muslim militants in Kaduna triggered violent clashes in protest against the Miss World beauty pageant, to be held in December in Abuja. "We have been living in Kaduna already for some years, where we have set up an educational program, a nursery and primary school in which we house, educate and give a meal to 500 children every day -- Christian and Muslim children," Sister Carrozzo explained. "We have a close relation with the Muslims who attend our school," she added. "It is important that this be understood by those who see the matter from outside and are not aware of this reality. The people, the inhabitants -- Muslim and Christian -- live and work close to one another. "My Muslim friends were among the first to call to ask about how I was doing. However, the fanatics then went into action. They are on both sides and when they come out into the open, everything becomes difficult."

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