Home Columnist Israel -Hamas War: A Call for Religious Neutrality in Nigeria
Israel war

Israel -Hamas War: A Call for Religious Neutrality in Nigeria

by Church Times

By Olufemi Emmanuel PhD

The War that broke out between Israel and Hamas in Palestine has aroused various concerns and interest all around the world. The magnitude of the mayhem and the ruins that have occurred seem to indicate that a long battle that will shake the world is very much in the offing.

Those who are watching closely could see that the Hamas group must have long prepared ahead of their strikes against the Israeli state that apparently was caught unawares by the barrage of missiles,  massacre, and hostage-taking that followed.
In this part of the world, especially in Nigeria, a particular type of sentiment is usually associated with the unfriendly relationship between Israel and her neighbours; that explains why crisis situation is often unfortunately perceived in light of religiously sedimented depositions that becloud the understanding of reality. This present development seems to be one of such misunderstood situations.
Why are some Christian and Muslim bodies and leaders beginning to express solidarity and support for or against Israel? If Christians are supporting Israel on a humanitarian basis, that will be understood, it should not be on the grounds of religion, as that would be completely out of place.
Of a truth, the attack on Israel, among other things, may have been prompted by religious extremism, whereas practitioners of that faith around the world whose normalcy has not been eroded by bigotry should have condemned it in very strong terms.
Beyond human feelings and love of humanity, Christianity does not offer any other basis for aligning with Israel in her response to her enemies;  there is no reason why the Christian church should whip up sentiments in the name of identifying with Israel’s struggle against the wicked acts of her neighbours who have become thorns in her flesh.
Likewise, people of the other faith should be expected to be humane enough to identify the initiators of this attack as evil and enemies of human beings and God. For a number of germane considerations, religious neutrality is called for,  as far as the war between Israel and Hamas is concerned.
Firstly, is Israel herself a Christian nation?  What percentage of the Israeli population is practicing Christianity? As of the end of 2022, less than 2 percent identify with Christianity. As a matter of fact,  Christianity is a distant behind Judaism and Islam which are respectively the largest religions in Israel.
Secondly, is Hamas attacking Israel because it is a ‘Christian’ nation? Are they holding  Israeli hostages based on their faith? Of course, many of those in their captivity may not affiliate with any religion, worst still with Christianity; perhaps with Judaism or Islam. Lastly, does Israel see herself fighting a religious war? Is she fighting because she is against the faith of her opponents? Definitely not. She is at war against terrorist attacks from her neighbours.
Therefore, Christians and Muslims in Nigeria should not allow religious extremism to overwhelm their reasonability in their perception of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, they should rather be neutral and prayerful for peace to prevail.
The untold hardships and pains that the nonbelligerent people are undergoing in Israel and Palestine actually call for unity against terrorism irrespective of religious differences.
Olufemi Emmanuel is the Dean of Spiritual Formation and Practical Ministry, West Africa Theological Seminary Lagos

Related Posts

1 comment

MickyKarim November 9, 2023 - 7:52 pm


Antonio Guterres as the Secretary General of the D-UNO is already exercising a form of PARTIALITY.



It is equally wrong and unwise to suggest that a deterrence in from of equal measure of response should not be brought to bear on erring foolish terrorists.


Leave a Comment