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Catholics Steer Delicate Course in Africa

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emad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-18-05 09:24 AM
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Catholics Steer Delicate Course in Africa

Guardian
Monday April 18, 2005 2:46 PM

DANIEL BALINT-KURTI

Associated Press Writer

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) - Winding its way across Africa is an invisible faultline between a mainly Muslim north and a majority Christian south. Across this front, somewhere in the scrubland south of the Sahara desert, tensions flare between increasingly strident Christian movements aggressively working to convert people of other faiths and an Islamic world wary of encroaching Western influences.

When the two worlds collide - a Muslim takes offense at a woman showing too much skin or a shop selling alcohol, a Christian takes umbrage when a thief's hand is chopped off - entire villages can riot.

Africa's nearly 900 million people offer the largest field of potential converts anywhere in the world, and the competition for souls is fiercest between the continent's two biggest religions - Catholicism and Islam.

Catholicism, with an estimated 136 million African followers, is the most important brand of Christianity on the continent. As such, the next pope's challenge will be to calm Africa's religious tensions, trying to bridge a gulf of distrust fostered by extremists on both sides.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-494...
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