Significance Of Religious Conflicts Cultural Studies Essay

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Religious conflicts have become significant issues today', especially recent years, while it is easy to see that religious adherents are becoming more polarized. Moreover, people are often judging each other according to their religion. In addition other conflicts are often seen as religion conflicts. It is known that, the fundamental reason is not religion. Societies' cultures are the critical point in the conflicts. Many people obey the cultures rules more than religion rules.

CVO includes all of cultural values of one society's and societies grouped according to their CVO patterns. Thus, people who are search about specified societies can get information about these societies. We can estimate societies' lifestyle, value judgments and identity. Hall, Hofstede and Schwartz are the foremost people to determine societies' CVO patters.

Nigeria is one of the enormous examples to explain such conflicts. Religion conflicts is rekindling now and Nigeria have other conflicts such as economical and inter-ethnic disputes. Another critical point is the CVO pattern of Nigeria. Nigeria has very complex and problematic CVO. It is easy to see that conflicts run parallel to their CVO patterns. In this context; this research paper will argue that the CVOs of embeddedness, high uncertainty avoidance and high context are the major influence of inter-ethnic conflicts in Nigeria.

According to Gannon, the religion of Nigeria was under effects of Muslims due to invasion of North Africa. However, Islam had begun to spread to Nigeria from the beginning of 10th century. Initially, there were two major empires in Nigeria whose names Kanem and Bornu. They governed by Non-Muslims for three hundred years. (Gannon M,2006) Then, Muslims has conquered them at 13th century. Thus, strong Islam process had begun in Nigeria. In fact, Bornu conquered other countries such as Cameroon, Niger and Chad. After this, the Bornu became the part of Ottoman Empire in 1550. However, this association process proceeded about 60 years and Bornu Empire survived until the invasion of Britain.(Ostien P. 2009)

Aresa indicates that Britain invaded the Nigeria part by part from the beginning of 19th century. After that, Britain totally controlled the all part of Nigeria in 1900. The British had enormous impact on Nigerians religions in 19th century. They convert many Nigerians to Christianity. They thought that they can easily lead Nigerians thanks to the power of Christianity. Since, pope was going to be unique power for them. Furthermore, another idea was that try to destroy national identity of Nigerians and British succeeded these plans.(Aresa M.2010) Since, Nigerians had already inter-ethnic problems before the invasion of Britain. However, %40 of Nigerians is Christian now and Nigerian has divide into 35 different ethnic groups after the invasion of Britain according to statistics of Gannon.

Moreover, Nigerians have enormous conflicts between them. Although, both of sides are Nigerians, they try to destroy each other because of the difference of religions due to their CVO patterns reflect uncertainty avoidance, high context and embeddedness. These common features are making strictly bond with each other, however, they have only adopt their tribes not other Nigerians. Therefore, they generally stay away from other societies. While, they had very serious conflicts with other religion and inter-ethnic groups, they generally protect each other in same society. The common value judgment is strangers are the hostiles in every ethnic group in Nigeria.

Ethnic groups have gathered in three major ethnic groups. These are Yoruba, the Hausa- Fulani and the Ibos. Gannon mentions that, ethnics groups have shaped according rivers, which are Niger and Benue. These rivers divide Nigeria into three part look like a "Y" and these groups are dominating in each part of Nigeria." Although, their power and influences have been reducing for recent years, they are still more than half of Nigerian population. (Gannon, 2006) In the statistic of Nigerian Government, Nigeria have Yoruba (20%), Hausa- Fulani (30%) and Ibos (17%) have population according to 1991 census and while Yoruba has %50 Muslim in its society, Hausa-Fulani have %91 Muslim. But, almost all population of Ibos is Christian. (Oloruntoba O,2009) Moreover, Sharkey states that "Ethnic groups can speak fundamentally the same language and have similar cultural value, however, they prefer to identify themselves as separate values in terms of differences that span centuries. Even, the Yoruba have more than 20 ethnic groups and each of them protects their separate identity strongly." (Sharkey S.2009). Their CVO is appropriate this conflicts. They can only live with people who have the same idea, tribe and religion with them. Moreover, they do not prefer innovations and opinions in their tribes. This is the ncritical factor that they divide into 3 major groups and almost 35 minor groups due to differences of ideas. Instead of, they interact their traditions and opinions with other ethnic groups; they prefer to stay away from other groups due to their CVO.

Gannon says that, after the independence of Nigeria in 1960, Nigerian religions conflicts have increased. There were many shock actions and murders in Nigerian management. In these conflicts, society is directly affected. Furthermore, especially during election of 1993 hundreds of people died in conflicts between Social democrats and radicals Muslims. (Gannon, 2006)

According to Ostien, Jos is the region of Nigeria that is the most conflicts occurred. This place is in the middle of Nigeria. In other words, it exists between the land of Christians and Muslims. Jos had four enormous riots. These happened in 1994,2001, 2008 and 2010. 1994 and 2001 riots happened due to elections; however, the real reasons are religion conflicts and inter-ethnic problems. About 1000 adherents have died in these religious conflicts in 2001 and other significant riots happened in 2002 and 2006. These riots happened due to misperceived of Muslims by Christians and insulting of Islam. The prophet Mohammed cartoon has depicted by Danish newspaper and caused escalating inter-ethnic conflicts and more than 200 people died in 2006 this conflict. Furthermore, it is easy to see that there are still strong religious conflicts in Jos. For instance, 364 people have died and almost 7000 people had fled to neighbor cities due to religious conflicts 21 January 2010. Moreover, these conflicts resulted to migration between the north and south and south to north and Jos divided into Christians and Muslim areas. (Ostien P.2010).

Furthermore, people are classifying people as ethnic groups according to their CVO patterns, religion and traditions. As a result, we can see the effects of CVO in those issues. People attack each other due to agitation. They did not know the reasons of the conflicts, however, traditions and leaders ordered like that. While, their CVO pattern appropriate to these conflicts and acting like one, it is impossible to behave individually .Since, Nigerians care each other very much due to their CVO.

We can see that, CVO patterns directly shaped with economic problems. Economic power has enormous effects on all conflicts in Nigeria. Economic problems has critical role especially in religions and inter-ethnic groups conflicts. According to Gannon, Jobs exactly reflect this situation and while, Hausa-Fulani generally work in agriculture, Ibos work with live animals. However, there are enormous conflicts between clans due to scare animal feeds. Indeed, Jos is the center of conflicts due to fertile lands. These conflicts totally reflect their CVO. They only care about their tribe and ignore other tribes. "The classic example is the conflict over grazing opportunities that has taken place across the length and breadth of the country between Fulani herdsmen and sedentary farming populations."(Osaghae E.2010) Moreover, he points out, many communal clashes in the oil-rich Niger Delta have also involved purely distributive sectional struggles for the largesse of the oil industry, including infrastructures and financial compensations provided by the oil multinationals. (Osaghae E. 2010)

As a result, today religion has become related with economy and politics and both Christians and Muslims try to use it. "Acceptance of the religion has become a domineering tool to acquire economic, political and social power in the North. The same process is exactly true about the Christians."(Aresa M, 2010) Both sides are trying to find some force to against other side. It is easy to see that the connection between religion and power to use other groups.

Embeddedness is the major CVO of Nigeria. In this CVO, society respect for traditions and they strongly have social order. These features totally reflect the Nigerian society. It can be defined, "People are viewed as entities embedded in the collectivity. Meaning in life comes largely through social relationships, through identifying with the group, participating in its shared way of life, and striving toward its shared goals."(H.Schwartz, 1983). Embeddedness mentions declaring the solidarity of the groups and follow the traditions. Furthermore, it is the critical point that they share their society's both pleasure and pains together in embedded cultures. (H.Schwartz, 1983). That is why Nigerian act like one. Their goals are the same and they can share these goals with their people in same society. If you are in same society with a Nigerian, they can kill for you. However, if you are opposite society, they can kill you for their society. That is why the riots and wars cannot finish in Nigeria. Both society ventures to kill or die for their society. That is not a real religious conflict. The conflicts arise due to following traditions and solidarity against to other tribes. Since, they strictly bond with their traditions and their traditions order the attack opposite group, it is almost impossible to finish in these situations. Although, north and south Nigeria has different religion, their reactions and defends are almost same. Since, they are almost same people. They grew up with same cultures.

Uncertainty avoidance is the other significant CVO of Nigeria. According to Hofstede, "Uncertainty avoidance cultures have strong traditions and rituals and tend toward formal, bureaucratic structures and rules and it depends on tolerance and ambiguity of society." (Hofstede, 2001) People generally feel uncomfortable in unstructured and new situations and these cultures try to decrease possibility of such situations by strict rules and laws. This CVO is same with religious part of Nigeria. Nigerians prefer explicit rules in religion. Since, both Christians and Muslims have same CVO in Nigeria, other religions are unknown for them. Therefore, they prefer to stay away from other religions and other people. Moreover, they have same attitude in other parts. For instance, they stay away from strangers. Even, they stay away from same country person. They separated into many different ethnic groups and they do not prefer to interact with other groups members. (Hofstede G. 1983).All these circumstances make Nigerians withdrawn. They wait the orders of the leaders all time. Leader gives the rules and they obey them. Since, they are unconscious, they unaware of any other lifestyles.

Nigerian society has high context communication style. This is an effective factor which determines the CVO of Nigeria. High context communication relationships depend on trust and it develops slowly and roots have critical important for a person to trusted by other people. "Cultures where the group is valued over the individual promote group reliance. High context cultures have a strong sense of tradition and history, and change little over time, such as tribal and native societies." (E.Hall-1990). this means, Nigerians do not like the strangers to attend their groups. If someone will attend their society, they must spend much time and they must trust him. Since, the relationships rely on trust and their history.

In other words, trust is the critical point to make societies strong like that. They cannot trust people who from other tribes, and there much be very long time to gain this trust. However, if you can establish this trust, they can do almost everything for you. It is similar to a structure which establish very compulsive however, it is almost impossible to destroy it. In fact, that is why these people stay away from each other like that. The real problem is not religion. It is lack of trust between the ethnic groups. In this situation, they cannot adopt other tribe even if they convert their religion.

We can draw the conclusion; Nigeria had very enormous conflicts from the invasion of British. However, it was escaladed from the independence of Nigeria. It separated into 35 ethnic groups and they had begun to attack each other. While the apparent reason is religion, the real reason is depend on their CVO patterns. They reflect the general properties of CVO and these conflicts strictly bond with this situation. Their CVO patterns are uncertainty avoidance, high context and embeddedness. Their common features are staying away unusual, respecting tradition and staying away from other groups. These provide the acting like one. While they totally dependent each other in an ethnic group and they totally independent from other groups. Moreover, like living as a society, however, they dislike other societies. We can see that, apart from these problems, there will be strong economical problems. I think, Nigerian people have strong conflicts due to economic reasons not religion and their CVO is the main trigger factor to escalate them. Since, Nigeria exist almost all arid lands and fertile lands are unique opportunity for both sides to supply their scant animal feeds. If, we look at the position of Nigeria and their CVO, we can see that, these conflicts not seen to finish in near feature.