Global Issues Lecture Series to Discuss Decades of Muslim and Christian Riots in Nigeria

Feb. 20, 2008

by Rebekah Hardage, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

Dr. Christian van Gorder, assistant professor of religion at Baylor University, will discuss "Muslim and Christian Riots in Nigeria, 1980-the present," from 4 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, in Draper 116 on Baylor's campus.

Van Gorder will discuss a series of specific incidents involving the killings of more than 10,000 Muslims and Christians stemming from religious tension in Nigeria.

"The experience of Muslim and Christian interactions in Nigeria is important because the nation is almost evenly divided between the two religions and there has been a long history of tensions that could erupt into very serious riots as they have done in the past," van Gorder said.

Van Gorder first traveled to Nigeria in 2000, where he met his wife who shared her first-hand experience with the persecution and riots.

Since Baylor is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious community made up of hundreds of students from Africa or of African decent, van Gorder hopes the students and faculty can benefit from the open conversations about the issues at hand.

"Baylor is the largest Baptist and private Christian university in the world and an awareness of what is happening to Christians in West Africa will be both inspirational and an important resource for Baylor's Christians to learn about the specific challenges facing Muslims and Christians in West Africa," van Gorder said.

Thursday's presentation is part of the Global Issues Lecture Series, sponsored by the Center for International Education. The lecture is free and open to the public.

For more information on the Global Issues Lecture Series, contact Lilly Fuertes at (254) 710-4531 or visit

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