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EDITIONS
Monday, 3 January, 2000, 14:14 GMT
Can Islam and Christianity live side by side?
In the Nigerian town of Ilorin about 20 churches have been attacked by youths suspected to be Islamic militants.

News and Information for Africa
Is this a sign of increasing religious tension in Nigeria following the introduction of Sharia law in several Northern States?

And as we approach the new millennium is religious strife going to increase all over the continent?

Are Christianity and Islam incompatible? Can they live side by side?


Your Reaction

Since the raise of the Iranian Islamic Revolution we have seen Islam changing face, strategy and goals. The ayatollahs are aimed at Islamising the world. The Muslims are not using their faith to worship God but as a tool to dominate and expand. At the birth of Islam we have seen the new converted conquer the Middle and Far East, North and Central Africa and Spain, converting the populations there to the new religion by the force of the sword and the lance, not through missions as the Christians did. Look what is happening today in the Balkan, Sudan, in different Russian Republics, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Indonesia, even in Israel between the Christians and Muslims there. Look at the Islamic fundamentalist wave rolling over Europe, the USA, etc, etc... And wonder to the question if whether Christians and Muslims could live side by side!
Peter Svensson, Sweden

I think Muslims and Christians can live peacefully together. The root cause of intolerance is the ignorance of the teaching of Religions. Both Religions, or as a matter of fact, all the World Religions preach ethical and human values. If the values are emphasised rather than the rituals of each Religion then there is peaceful co-existence of people of all Faiths.
Latimah-Parvin Peerwani, USA

The only way for the two religions to live side by side is for the Christian to be the majority, as it is in the United States and most of Europe. But in countries where the Muslims are the dominating majority, the concept of living side by side becomes very hard. Christians are told to love their enemy. Muslims are told that they will not be punished for taking a non-Muslim's life or money.
Emad Girgis, USA

I don't think that Muslims and Christians can live side by side, because it is impossible unless one dominates the other, and still, they can't live in peace. For example look at what is happening in Indonesia.
David, Australia

As long as everybody can understand that Muslims and Christians are just using two different "vehicles" for the same destination; GOD, there is no reason why they should not live side by side
Antoine Tape, Ivorian living in the USA

The only way to live side by side is to have laws in a book that will keep both sides in check.

Yosief B, USA

No! The only way to live side by side is to have laws in a book that will keep both sides in check. Therefore, as long as these laws are present and active we see some tolerance and respect towards each other.
In places where there are no laws, to respect the other sides point of view, we see chaos and turmoil, and in place where there is law and democracy we see the two religions living in "harmony". Therefore, laws and rules are the only way the two could live side by side. "One will always be the dominant as long as we live"
Yosief B, USA

Christianity and Islam are incompatible. We do not believe in the same God, we believe in Jesus as the son of God, which is the foundation of our faith. The Moslems do not believe this...and so many other things are totally different.
We can live side by side and we do live side by side all over the world. The bible says "we should love our neighbours as ourselves" Also in Romans 12:18 " if it be possible, as much as liveth in you, live peaceably with all men". We do not hate the Moslems. We love them and can live with them.
Olukemi, UK

Islam and Christianity can live in peace just as it did for many years under Ottoman rule and many other periods before. Islam and Western (American/European) dominance and subjugation of Muslims cannot.
Javed Hason, UK

Surely, it is possible. I think when focused on the essence of these two religions, that is the oneness of God and the reality of life in Hereafter, the comprise of Islam and Christianity will occur. IN SHA ALLAH(GOD).
Hassan Rezaei, Iran

It is not possible for Muslims and Christians to live side by side in the absence of mutual understanding.

A Christian from the Middle East, Syria

I think it is difficult for people living in west to give their opinion. They have to live in a Muslim country to see that it is not possible for Muslims and Christians to live side by side in the absence of mutual understanding.
In reality, freedoms of religion do not exist in Muslim countries. How can you live near a Muslim when he already has a particular feeling towards you (that you are a non-believer in god).
A Christian from the Middle East, Syria

As long as the government is divided equally between Muslims and Christians there will not be any peace in Africa. Africa's main strength is religion, unlike the west which relies mostly on technology. In order to live peacefully we have to respect other people's religion but in Africa if a Christian rules even with minority Christians they call it a Christian state and give no respect for the rest others.
Amanuel Tecle, Eritrea

The Muslims and Christians can live together provided they practice tolerance to each other's religious faiths. After all they are Children of "One God".
Moinuddin A Chaudhari, Kuwait

The cultural clashes between Muslims and Christians may continue sporadically, but increasingly everybody will see the futility of violence and the stupidity of using religion to suppress human rights, and all religions will coexist in harmony.
I believe that men will come to appreciate that if God had wanted to force people into worshipping Him in any particular manner he would have done so Himself. Since He chose to give men free will then nobody else should play God and force people into any particular religion. I believe that increasingly all religion will accept that men and women were created free!
A.F Mkenda, Tanzania

No religions with different forms can thrive or stay side by side. Religion is the creation of the Stone Age times and was framed to suit the leaders then to have a large following.

Dr. Pradeep Vyas, Israel

It is a sheer blot on the humanity that we still patronise different religions and the globe at large is involved in merciless killings and destruction which no religion promotes or preaches. Religion is the most bogus thing one can conceive of, if there be unabated destruction and human beings on the name of religion.
No religions with different forms can thrive or stay side by side. Religion is the creation of the Stone Age times and was framed to suit the leaders then to have a large following.
Dr. Pradeep. Vyas. Cardiologist., Israel

I think Christians and Muslims can live together. There are evidences before where people of both religions have got along perfectly fine. It's only recently that religion is given top priority and is being brought in the forefront that we have problems. If religion was left to where its place is then the world be a beautiful and wonderful place to live in.
It's our culture that says that each one is a Christian or Muslims. But if that particular situation was vice versa. The top priority is that we a basically human beings then the rest is secondary. Imagine if religion was not there in this world?
Olavo Pinto, Kuwait

There is no difference in the two religions. The difference is created by the politicians and the dirty minded religious feudals. They don't want to lose the grip on their people. They only care about their benefit. They are neither Muslims nor Christians. They are hungry, greedy wolves who are drinking the blood of innocent people by letting them fight for nothing. The only difference is whether Jesus was crucified or not? Rest is exactly the same. All the beliefs, all the characters in the holy books every thing matches
Adil Hashmi, UAE

I guess it is enough in this context to quote the prophet Mohammed himself saying the one who kills zemian (one of the people of the scriptures, i.e. Jews or Christians, living among Muslims) won't ever received the order of the paradise.
Maseg, Hong Kong

Yes, these two religions can live side by side - because there is no other choice.

K Joomaye, UK

Yes, these two religions can live side by side - because there is no other choice. As we all know, Jesus was a prophet of God, confirmed and affirmed by Muhammad, the last prophet. Both religions must mutually accept and tolerate each other to fight the depravity that is happening in the world today. Islam intends man to reach his highest calibre, not in the western ideal of business and wealth, but in the realm of character and good deeds.
That is why true Muslims find it difficult to swallow the western pill of equality, human rights and higher morality, when it just does not have the capacity for such ideals in a society where the majority are concerned with personal and material advancement alone.
K Joomaye, UK

If Somalians can find differences among themselves to make them tear their country apart, it is a miracle that a country like Nigeria hasn't done the same. Africans have always seemed tolerant of each other, but lately many seem intent on taking on a "foreign" persona. Africans do not need religion to be a divisive tool.
Trevor Munroe, USA

Islam is not the kind many people believe. Islam preaches love for oneself, love for neighbour and love for GOD. It is these unISLAMIC fundamentalists who change the shape of religion. Otherwise any religion can go well with ISLAM. Fundamentalists like Osama Laden think they are pure ISLAMIC but they are not. I don't know what they teach the children in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Ayub Khan, India

Christians, Jews, and Muslims are people of the Book. Islam preaches tolerance, peace among all religions. By definition Islam means peace. So evidently Islam can co-exist with Christianity.
Gulrez, canada

I think, first of all, this question is extremely wrong. We are all human beings and were all created by the same God. Of course we can live side by side. I think if we have some problems between us, this is not related to our religion, this is completely related to some political reasons. God gives all of us the ability to live together. No one can disclaim that truth.
Evren Isik, Turkey

I do not think Islam can live side by side with any religion in this world. People are fighting on the name of Islam all over the world.

Jay, Canada

I do not think Islam can live side by side with any religion in this world. People are fighting on the name of Islam all over the world. From Yugoslavia, Bosnia, Russia- Chechnya, India Pakistan, Somalia, Nigeria, Egypt, Iran - Iraq, Israel Palestine it's Islam fighting all over the world
Jay, Canada

Yes both the religions can move along side by side very well provided the followers of both these religions respect each other's rights. But, unfortunately, the Christian world has been very hostile to Islam which is the main stumbling block.
These two religions have so much in common, which should be explored and used as a basis of peaceful co-existence. Would the Churches be prepared??
Saleem Farooqi, Canada

When we get rid of religion and its inherent divisions and lack of truth, then the peoples of this planet will more likely be able to live together. Maybe when the 'aliens' arrive, religion will be seen for what it is and our human community will come to the fore.
Mike, UK

There are many wonderful examples of individuals of different faiths living quite happily side by side. Religion is and must remain a deeply personal thing. It only becomes a problem if the people of one religion have no respect for individuals of another.
Mike Fleming, UK

The question is not really CAN Christians and Muslims live side-by-side, but why SHOULD they?
Ray Hartman, USA

Let us respect each other without faith and try to get along.
Abshir M. Warsame, USA

No, history proves we're stuck in our prejudices and have no desire to move beyond them. Until all hearts change and come to a true knowledge of God we are destined for strife.
Michelle Mills, USA

Yes, they can. All large conflicts between Christians and Muslims in essence, are not motivated by religion, but by some other factors (a dictator needs a war to remain in power, competition for resources etc.). By abusing the religious differences, the initiators of the conflicts wish to mask their unpopular aims, and/or mobilise more support among the less educated.
Murat Erkocevic, USA

It is definitely possible that Muslims and Christians can live in harmony together. Tension is caused by the superiority some people seem to feel. It is important for them to realise that they can only achieve success while living in peace. You cannot force a person to understand what this life is all about, but you can help the person understand what you think is true.
Sana, Canada

Wrong question. Can people co-exist period? If there were no religions in the world than we would find something else to fight over. Humans are pathetic, they all the worst of all creatures. Only humans kill there own. No religion preaches violence. There are Muslims who drink, Christians who have sex prior to marriage, Hindu's that eat beef and Buddhist's who are violent. You have to understand religion. We have to go back to the basics for in the end the true practice of religions, that all push for love will save the world.
Akshay, USA

Islam and co-exist? The words Khafer and Sharia sends a chill in the spine. Islam is a religion fundamentally intolerant. The idea of the religion is to dominate. How can anyone co-exist with such ideologies?
Dhiman, India

They can co-exist only if they respect each other's beliefs. In other words, one religion must not force its beliefs onto the others. But history has shown us that some religious leaders, figures and laymen have not refused to coexist with others due to my-way-is-better-than-yours syndrome, thus causing deadly conflicts amongst human race.
Shervin Ramesh, USA

Islam and Christianity cannot co-exist because the two religions are in conflict with each other. Furthermore, both claim to be superior to the other. Therefore, no government should allow itself to incorporate religious doctrine in the functioning of the state duty.
Liberia,

The positive sentiment and optimism concerning Islamic-Christian relations overwhelm me. I believe both can coexist. Muslim countries must begin a reawakening of education. It is the key to their survival.
Faisal, USA

Islam and Christianity can only live side by side when Islam is in the minority. The moment that Islam become the majority it wants the rule. Where there is a Islamic state there is no religous tolerance.
Philip Dadswell, UK

The only way left for Nigeria before it deteriorates into a quasi-tribal-religious fiefdom is to legislate a secular government. Like Turkey, Nigeria can ban religion from state affairs, from schools and from public life. Religion is a private belief that cannot be allowed to assume political and legal powers like the Muslims and their Sharia. Nigeria needs a strong central government, decisive and brave enough to enforce the right way, otherwise we are witnessing the unravelling of the great giant, or maybe the makings of yet another coup de'etat
Mudi, USA

Islam and Christianity can always coexist but not the Muslims and Christians. The reason is Muslims are always interested in converting people from other religions and as result the hostility begins.
Seema, Bangladesh

Once we realised that this earth does not belong to any religion, we will learn to live side by side with each other. I went to a Christian school and got a good education, I have friends who are Christians. Those hoodlums burning churches in the name of Islam are ignorant and un-educated. Who are we to judge other peoples' faith as being inferior to ours? If Islam is the religion of peace, why not use this month of Ramadan to denounce terrorism and preach love towards one another.
Koreed Imam, USA

The marked difference between the two is that Christianity does not confuse and defuse culture with its practices. But in Islam, faith, culture, politics, social behaviours etc are almost taken as the same thing. This has led to a lot of confusion, especially where the Christians are neighbours. In Uganda, Christians have been living amicably side by side for a long time. But of recent, a Muslim splinter group has emerged in the name of the Tabliques. Their methods of work have antagonised both the fellow Muslims and the Christians. Osman Bare defends the Islamic violence by saying, "If a group of people do a criminal act, don't mislead the world by telling they are Christians or Muslims, but simply say criminals". Muslims usually execute criminal acts in the name of the sects they belong to, and if the going gets tough for them, they declare 'jihadh', or Holy War. They are normally difficult neighbours we must accept.
Vincent E. Bua, Uganda

Yes, I do believe Christians and Muslims can both live peacefully. In Eritrea, there are even 9 different ethnic groups that live together peacefully. The way that this is done is by teaching each other about the customs of the different groups. In Eritrean festivals, the singers and dancers entertain and educate the audience by demonstrating the dances, songs, and languages of all the different groups. As a matter of fact, many Christian Eritreans speak Arabic and love the music of their Muslim brothers and sisters.
Isaiyas Keflu, Eritrea

Islam and Christianity can live side by side. It is well known fact that they did so peacefully in the Ottoman Empire and they do so in many other countries like Canada. But due to the divisions within each faith, there will always divisions between groups and religion will always be a dividing factor. Therefore this is not an Islam/Christian issue but a group of people within the Nigerian society and they do not represent the whole Muslim people.
Shukri, Canada

Muslims and Christians will only live side by side when they come to appreciate each other's differences and realise that they're not so different after all.
Kevin Jones, UK

Yes! Muslims and Christians can live together. In Ethiopia we live together. We always respect each others belief, but most of all we celebrate each others holidays. The problems are created only because of politics and leaders. We did live in the past and we will live side by side in the future
Guenet, Ethiopia

Islam stems from Ishmael, the son of Abraham. Christianity is a belief that Jesus, a Jew, was the Messiah, foretold by Jewish prophets of old. The Jewish people, which begot Christianity, also call Abraham FATHER. The hatred, which was brought about over the birthright of Ishmailand Isaac, is alive and well and will continue. All three religions teach for us to love our brother! When we begin to serve YHWH, ALI, Or GOD the Father, then there will be peace.
Mark Cox, USA

Christianity, Islam and Judaism can live perfectly together. Unfortunately, some politicians in the Middle East tend to misuse religion by creating conflicts to gain power and popularity. I still remember the words of President Sadat when he said, "there should not be religion in politics and no politics in religion." He was farsighted in many things, including the Middle East peace process.
R. Shehada, Egypt

Since religion is the most important possession for a human being. There are a lot of feelings associated with this emotion. Quite often governments play to tap into these emotions with unfound accusations and blowing up non-existent issues. As people we must all be tolerant and aware of the games that are played. Think before you act and tolerate mistakes, we all make them.
Edriss,

As long as people have food in their mouth and books to read and no religious fanatic to misguide them.
Vivek Manchanda, USA

Sure! Christianity followed in the truest sense of the teachings of the Bible and Islam followed in the truest sense of the teachings in the Koran - such followers can definitely exist side by side - because then they would see that all humans are transient. That all of us use our religions as guidelines to live by, to spread happiness and peace. We, humans, draw the lines and call it Nigeria, Africa - eventually all of us have to exist side by side on Planet Earth - in peace.
Padmini, India

We Muslims should remember that Moses, Jesus, Mohammed were all profits of Islam. Their message was the same each time. The Koran was revealed to authenticate the previous prophets and the previous books. Life is too short to be spent on hating each other. In the end we will all be buried in the same dust. Love each other and enjoy life. You will see how beautiful the life is.
Adeeb Hyder, USA

It's really sad that at this time when the rest of the world is looking for better ways of improving the lives of humans, Nigerians, and in fact Africans, are still preoccupied with various social political and religious conflicts. The events of the last few months in Nigeria are interesting for several reasons. The Nigerian situation is both unpredictable and completely volatile. I will only pray that when all the states in Northern Nigeria become fully Islamic, everyone will see reason with the south when the call for complete autonomy of the regions is made. At least that is what Nigerians have been crying for since independence in 1960. True democracy lies in the freedom of religious, political and economic rights.
Samuel, Nigeria

They certainly can if they try and discuss issues before they turn into deadly disputes.
Sadaf Zia, Pakistan

Of course, the harmonious coexistence of Muslims and Christians is perfectly feasible provided that the worst, narrowest and basest stratum of human nature is not aroused. Most often religious intolerance stems from the inferiority complex coupled with the spiteful fear of potential oppositions. Remove spiteful cowards and all religions of the world will be able to grasp and appreciate beauty and variety of each other.
Vladimir Beluntsov, USA

I think that Christians and Muslims can live together and not only with Muslims, but also with other religious groups. One example is Lebanon where Muslims and Christians, live side by side. Each one has its one place and religious holidays and both Christians and Muslims stop working as a respect to each other's religious days, such as Ramadan for Muslims and Christmas for Christians. Of course problems rise, yet they can be settled without any outside political interference.
Raffi, Lebanon, originally from Armenia

Of course, both the religions can co-exist. But it would take a greater degree of tolerance and respect for each other. As long as Christian and Islamic fundamentalists are marginalised. Co-existence of both religions is possible.
Pradeep, Canada

People have to realise that all religions are a guide to living our lives. Understanding this is instrumental in deciding if people following different religions can live together. At all levels people have not stop exploiting such minor differences. The Muslims and Christians both believe in God -- the form is no matter. They will live together.
Vikram, India

Yes they can live peacefully together. But only if the community has the collective desire to live in peace and harmony with respect for each other.
Stanley Peterson Jr, USA

Islam, Christianity and Judaism have a bigger threat to deal with; the collapse of morality. There is agreement on many core moral issues, such as a heterosexual way of life, and on these issues, followers of the different faiths need to unite to ensure that young and impressionable minds are not corrupted by the lifestyles of singers/models and media figures.
Jawaid Yakoob, U.K

Definitely Yes! The two religions can live side by side. We have to respect each other's beliefs and not have blind faith in authorities trying to label either of the faiths as a fostering home for terrorism and terrorists.
Farooq Khan, Canada

It's only political leaders who create tensions between communities. Not just religions living together, India is a country where different races live together in harmony. Since they are living together for a millennium now, I don't find any reason why different religions can't live together into the new millennium
William Mahoney, United States

Burning of churches also happens here. While Nigerians who belong to a different faith might have committed the crime in Nigeria, here in the United States the Black churches are usually burned to the ground by White racists who call themselves Christians. And if people of different faith, race and background are to share our planet, governments should guarantee life, liberty, and the pursue of happiness of each and everyone and do a better job in protecting all houses of warship.
Awaalom, USA

Christians and Moslems can live together as demonstrated in the West. But as long as there is fundamentalism, so apparent in Islam, exists, the question of "living together" is a dream. This idea of calling someone who is not a Moslem "trash" (Kafri) is a root to all intolerance. The third world (Africa in particular) has been abused by Islamic fundamentalism.
Lawrence Kazembe, Malawi

Not until someone comes up with some other excuses to spread death and devastation in the name of justice and selfless love.
Arthur Hogan, USA

Although there is so much in common between both religions and both are rooted in Judaism, Islam was born in bloodshed and spread by bloodshed. No matter what the good book may say, there is hatred running in the veins of many Muslims against other religions and even against their own kind.
Asha, UK

I think that Christians and Muslims can live together but they should not express religion in public areas but rather in their homes and churches/mosques.
Faraz, Pakistani American

Islam and Christianity are living in harmony at least in one African Nation of Eritrea. Of course they can live together side by side and neither should be offended/afraid of trying to prove the other wrong! by peaceful form of discussion.
Kibreab Ghede, USA

`Culture plates' according to Prof. Samuel Huntingon, react in much the same fashion as `tectonic plates'...with friction and violence. The analogy is nowhere more obvious than along the line running through Turkey and north through the Urals.
Brian Rowell, Australia

Yes! Why not? In fact all religions can live together in harmony, if they remember the simple fact that they all belong to the strongest religion of them all, called humanity.
Pratik Thaker, India

Muslims can and will live side to side with both Christians and Jews. It must not be forgotten that we Muslims will continue our struggle for the propagation of truth, tranquillity, and true peace, until the flags of The (True) Islamic State decorate the entire world's landscape. Then mankind will be elevated from the worship of other Men and Material Goods, to the worship of the Creator of All Men, and the Universe.
Abu Salam, USA

Most of my friends are Muslim and I am a Christian. I have attended services in a Mosque. Jesus is mentioned in the Quran and in the Bible.
Steven Kiehler, USA

I once read the following, which sums up this debate: "There is enough religion in the world for people to hate, but there is not enough for people to love".
Andreas Savva, Cyprus

Islam cannot co-exist with any other religion, as it is a backward and an authoritarian religion. Muslims cannot live in peace with anyone including him or herself. The majority of the world's problems are due to this priggish religion.
AJ, UK

Sure, the Christians and the Muslims can live side by side. Just look at Ethiopia. That will be enough to be convinced. I tell you a famous quotation of Emperor Minilk, a legendary African figure, when he called the nations to fight the Italian aggressor in 1891. He said "religion is personal but since your country is for all of us - join me to defend the nation". And they did, despite their religious differences.
Wolde Yohannes, Ethiopia

Not a chance. Dreamers can dream of co-existence, but history suggests otherwise.
Jyoti Chandra, India

Of course the two religions can exist side by side. There is, however, one prerequisite that the red-eyed, hot-headed zealots who are often so prominent in both religions, are constantly kept on the leash.
Ivan Josephs, US

This is not a question. It's a condition for mankind to survive, to exist in this world. They are the two largest religions in the world and their coexistence is a must. After all, there is so much in common between the two religions.
Areeb Masood, UAE

Islam asks Muslims to respect the Jews and Christians rights. The Holly Quraan asks that we should not argue with the people of the book except in a good manner. If we are not allowed to argue with the Christians and Jews except in a good manner, Can we destroy their place of worship? Of course not.
A. Jalabi, U.S.A/ SYRIA

There is enough space in God's garden for all creatures to leave in peace. Why all this animosities between human?.
Drame, Canada

Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism have lived relatively well "side-by-side" for over a century in countries that have effectively separated church and state. So "Yes", it can happen because is has happened!
Rich Boston, USA

"Can they live side by side?" the answer is yes. Muslims and Christian have been living side by side for many centuries in many countries. It is misguided leaders that are trying to bring people of different faith into war for the sake of power. In Ethiopia, which has an equal amount of Muslims and Christians, there are many instances where people of different faith inter-marry, breaking the taboo. So it is not Christianity or Islam that is the problem, but power seeking leaders, who want to use faith as a tool, they are the problem.
Alem Tesso, USA From Ethiopia

Yes, they can. There is no reason they can't live together. The most important point is both Christians and Muslims should know that belief is personal; and any body has absolute right to believe in any religion. Muslim and Christians also should know that they have no grounds to fight each other in the name of religion. All religions are equal and protected by law, even when one feels religion of the other is wrong (according to his belief).
Getinet Beshah, Ethiopia

Definitely! Actually all religions can live together. All these so called religious tensions and battles that we see today, and have read about in the past, are purely a result of economic polarities, oppression (governments, rulers, political schools, lobby groups). In the real world, if we make an effort to see the root causes of various conflicts around us, the humans among us will realise that your average "terrorist" is actually hitting out against an unjust system that some bigot somewhere initiated. It would also help if the world community (read as the UN) would truly function as it is supposed without regard to religion. PEACE!
Fareed Jawad, USA

I suggest reading Samuel Huntington's book, "The Clash of Civilizations." If one looks around the world and discerns for him/herself where conflicts continuously arise, any astute individual will recognise Muslims cannot live with so called infidels/kafirs. Furthermore, Shariat law is the ANTITHESIS of everything western. Muslims have and always will live by the sword.
Christina,

Islam has great respect for Christianity, accepting Christians as 'People of the Book' i.e. recipients of divine guidance. Much of the animosity towards Islam, leading to civil conflict, has resulted from Judeo-Christian propaganda regarding Sharia law & its imposition on all social groups living in any given region. However, it is ridiculous to expect individual living in one community to be governed according to different civil codes. Furthermore, Sharia law does not in any way compel non-Muslims to convert to Islam & in particular protects the religious rights of the 'People of the Book' i.e. Jews & Christians. Sharia law essentially sets the framework for economic & judicial issues, the latter including a system of penal guidelines that treat all individuals equally, Muslim or otherwise.
Don Leyton, UK

Yes, the people from two religions can definitely live side by side. The only problem is to keep politics out of the whole equation.
Srimal, USA

To begin with, one cannot proclaim to be a true Muslim without believing in the Prophethood of Essa (Jesus) hence, the belief in the existence of Christianity as a Religion of God. So in short, the answer to the above question without an iota of doubt is in the affirmative. Unfortunately, extremists/fanatics from both sides of the fence (Muslims and Christians) undermine the mutual co-existence of the two religions by their unprovoked attacks on opponents, as is the case in Nigeria currently. Accordingly, these people should be seen as exploiting religion for ulterior motives and they should be addressed as bandits.
OB Silla, Gambian in USA

In my humble opinion, Muslims and Christians can not co-exist, don't get me wrong. There's no way whatsoever that Christians and Muslims can live side by side. The main reason for this is that a true Muslim can not be governed or ruled by a non-Muslim. I think this alone can pull Muslims and Christians apart. Unless Christians can give up their right of equitably running public affairs, then and only then they can co-exist.
K.M, U.S.A/Sudan

It is extremely important that all the civilised people of this world do their best to take the time to educate themselves to be able to see through the twisted interpretation of religion that the perpetrators of these crimes invent. Jumping to conclusions influenced by prejudice is irresponsible and ignorant - crimes that the followers of leaders of such crimes are guilty of - like (at least some of) the youth in these crimes in Nigeria. Their total ignorance of the religion they claim to follow, and their extreme prejudice turned them into murderers. They deserved to be treated as cold-blooded murderers for they cannot fool us by trying to hide behind religion.
Usman Khan, UK

No, these vastly incompatible and divergent religions, so dissimilar in many respects, cannot exist side by side. Nigeria is a vivid example of what could happen if such religions are forced to co-exist. The British separated Pakistan from India for similar reasons but messed up very badly in the case of Nigeria. Britain is largely to blame for the impending catastrophe that is in Nigeria.
Mohammad Fadhlala,

There are 100 year's gap between modern Christianity and today's Islam. Christianity has moved towards tolerance and equality. On the other hand it seems that many Islamic movements are getting more intolerant, violent and chauvinistic. Besides ethnic and cultural background of most Christians and Muslims are totally different. Therefore I can't see any chances for real peace and friendship in the near future. Unfortunately.
Kimmo Torvinen, Finland

Islam and Christianity share a common ancestry. The Founder of Islam was Prophet Abraham and Prophet Mohammad revived it. Christians also consider Abraham as their Patriarch. Both Muslims and Christians believe in the same Almighty God, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe. Muslims call Him 'Allah' and Jesus called Him 'Eli'. Let we Muslims and Christians come to common terms in that we would not worship anyone else but the Almighty Lord and share no partners with Him, and would not do any act that would displease Him. If we agree, surely Islam and Christianity can live side by side.
Waseem Sharieff, Canada

History is full of examples of religions doing battle against each other, but few, and only for temporary periods of time, when they co-habitate. Someday, for certain, one will try to oust the other from a contested area.
Steve Kenney, USA

Intolerance flows from Islamic and Christian fundamentalists. Fundamentalists of either faith are the real enemies of the state. They can never have their way, but they can always sow the seed of destruction and human suffering. The Sudan imbroglio is a perfect example. If you need a vision of what could become of Nigeria in the next ten years, look at the Sudan and then multiply the suffering by a factor of 10. However, the section of the country that bears the brunt of the suffering may not follow the Sudan pattern.
Olu OBA, U.S.A

Intolerance is the outcome of ignorance. As long as ignorant minds exist there will always be confrontation between religions. Our utmost duty is to seek these ignorant minds and uproot them so that harmony and peace dwells between all Muslims and Christians in Africa and in fact all over the world.
Husam Awadalla, UK

Yes, they can. At least, in Russia they do just fine. A good example is Tatars. Many of them are Muslims. Since the Mongol invasion eight hundred years ago and about one third of them are Orthodox Christians. I am from a mixed Muslim-Orthodox family and feel good about my background. Someone might say: what about Chechens? Conflict in Chechnya is of geo-political nature, not religious, although the Islamic idea of confrontation with Russians as "non-believers" is successfully promoted among hard-line Chechen militants who also mix this idea with an ethnical hatred. "Holy war" looses all its holiness as soon as one realises that its war, just like the crusade looses its holiness as soon as one realises that its participants killed, raped and devastated everything on its way to God's cradle.
Yevgeni, Russia

I think Muslims and Christians can live side by side and everyone can practice what they believe in and they proved it in so many places in the world, good examples are Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Nigeria, Asia, Europe, and North America. But lately we see lot of western countries trying to create a religious conflict in Africa and other parties of the world to achieve their goals that everyone in this world knows and to undermine the peace in the third world. Finally I would like to say if a bad person or group of people do criminal act don't mislead the world by telling they are Christians or Muslims but simple say criminals.
Osman Barre, USA, Originally from Somalia

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20 Dec 99 | Africa
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