Violent conflicts in Africa are increasing. Whether they take the form of terrorist attacks in Kenya, mass kidnappings in Nigeria, or a violent revolt in Mali, these events, no matter how different they are, are frequently attributed to religious motives. Religion – Christianity, Islam, or mixed forms with a range of traditional beliefs – is a central element of cultural life in many African countries. It can generate community, group identity, orientation, and order where state institutions fall short or fail and where the rule of law and prospects for the future are absent. Religion serves as a binding force for societal cohesion and peace. However, religion or the misuse of religion can equally support radicalisation and violence.
The extent to which religion is the trigger for violent conflicts in African countries – for example, Kenya, Mali, Chad, or Nigeria – and what other factors play a role will be discussed by moderator Julia-Niharika Sen (NDR TV programme “Weltbilder”), Prof. Dr. Matthias Basedau (Director of the GIGA Institute of African Affairs), Caroline Hoffmann (ARD correspondent in Nairobi), and Jens Borchers (ARD correspondent in Rabat). They will illuminate the religious dimension of these conflicts from different perspectives and provide insights from research practice and on-site reporting. With a more precise view to the large differences between the very diverse societies of the continent, they will analyse the causes of conflict, identify external influences, and offer assessments regarding future development.
In the collaborative event series from NDR and the GIGA “Crossing Borders – Foreign Correspondents Connecting with Scholars” (“Grenzgänger – Auslandskorrespondenten treffen Wissenschaftler”), researchers and journalists discuss current events across the world, always including a perspective on how Germany and Hamburg are affected.