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Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa and seventh-most on Earth. She is wealthy in abundant natural resources and creative intelligence, bringing great affluence to some while disregarding and leaving the majority in hopeless poverty. Nigerians' desperation is often expressed violently, even brutally, pathetically seeking order, fairness, and dignity. Neither government nor its constituency is distinctive about rejecting violent means. Various citizens will diversely attribute root causes to tribal competition, economic poverty and greed, corruption, revenge, manipulation of fear, misuse of power, famine of relationships, indigene-settler rivalry, and religion. Since the default setting of most humans is to take sides, faith communities and institutions -- Islam, Christianity, and African Traditional Religion – have been variously targets of blame and, attacks, organizing centers of defensiveness and hostility, and sacred refuges of sanity, wisdom, and creative initiatives to reunite and heal Nigerians and Nigeria as one.
In Anatomy of Religious Violence, our dear friend and author, Emmanuel Ande Ivorgba, uncovers a rich history of Nigeria, usefully clarifying religions' conditioning of Nigerian people and habits over centuries. His narrative of religions begins 5,000 years ago (3,000 BCE) in the Near East and brings us to this 2012 year in his beloved Nigeria. Reading Ivorgba and Nigerian context is a paradox. We are awed by the diversity, beauty, meaning, and evolution of the religions. And we are challenged by the different perceptions and practices, yet exemplary lives-lived of women and men inspired by each faith tradition. Like rivers lead to oceans, Ivorgba helps us see universal principles where the religions and their faithfuls converge. He gives concrete hope that Nigerians and humankind -- from their root teachings and face-to-face engagement -- will experience that the soul's oldest memory is of union, and the soul's deepest longing is for reunion: Ivorgba's own vision of a world of "peace and love." In brilliant versatility, he uncovers from each faith the aim to dignify the "other" and thus oneself, known around Earth as The Golden Rule.