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Sharia banking plans in Nigeria fuel Christian fears of “Islamic state”

July 15, 2011 by  
Filed under newsletter-world, Nigeria, Persecution, World

The Central Bank of Nigeria is introducing non-interest banking

The Central Bank of Nigeria is introducing non-interest banking

A senior Christian leader in Nigeria has expressed fears that the introduction of sharia banking in the country is “part of the grand plan to turn Nigeria into an Islamic state”.

The Central Bank of Nigeria
is introducing non-interest banking

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), whose governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, is a Muslim, has published a final set of regulations on non-interest banking, which includes sharia-compliant financial products, and cleared in principle two banks to offer them.

The bank insists that the move is motivated by purely economic factors, but Christians in Nigeria, which is deeply divided along religious lines and beset by sectarian tensions, fear that Sanusi has a hidden agenda.

A senior Christian leader in Lagos, Nigeria’s economic hub, said:

We are against the operation of Islamic banking in Nigeria because we see it as another deliberate move to subjugate Christians in Nigeria. Nigeria is a secular state. We must be very sensitive to the religious beliefs of others.

Introducing Islamic banking in Nigeria will further aggravate the culpable religious tension in the country already being hoisted by the radical sect Boko Haram.

More than 75 countries, including the US, Britain, Germany and France as well as African countries such as South Africa and Kenya, provide Islamic banking.

Abdul Lateef Adegbite, secretary general of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, said that Nigeria could not afford to be left behind in the multi-billion-dollar business. “Why should Nigeria, the sixth largest Muslim population in the world, not partake in the benefits of a global financial product?”

The CBN, which has also unveiled plans to issue Islamic bonds in under two years, says the introduction of Islamic banking is part of its drive to propel Nigeria’s economy and promote financial inclusion by introducing alternative products. Islamic banking products do not charge interest on financing (even though many mainstream Muslim scholars do not believe that charging interest is wrong).

The move comes at a time when Nigerian Christians are feeling particularly vulnerable; they have come under sustained attack following the re-election of Christian President Goodluck Jonathan in April.

Islamist sect Boko Haram has been behind numerous attacks on churches; they have also repeatedly targeted the police with bombings. The group is fighting to create an Islamic government in the North.

– barnabusfund

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