Saturday, October 11, 2008

The 15th good thing about Northern Nigeria: religious reminders along the streets

Here in Lagos, the Christian churches predominate, though there are, of course, mosques, and along the road here and there are rugs spread out, occasionally with Muslims making their devotions. But in Northern Nigeria, Islam is the predominant religion and the evidences are everywhere. The large central mosque looms over the center of Kano, with activity all around it.

Paulette said that, for the most part, the Islamic presence here is very peaceful and without fundamentalism. But when we were returning to our home from the airport in Lagos, in discussing our trip with one of our company security people, he was saying that he at one time lived in Kano, but left because he thought there was getting to be more tension between the Muslims and the minority Christians. He thought it was a big problem that the Koranic schools are the only educational option for many children and worried that it would be easy for them to be indoctrinated with a fundamentalist Muslim outlook which could be more intolerant of others.

Something I found quite interesting were the road signs on many intersections and lining all the major roads in Kano with verses from the Koran. It was hard to get clear photos of them as we drove past.

This one says "Oh Allah I seek your forgiveness." It was one of the most popular, frequently repeated signs.
Here's my list of others I saw:
"Fear Allah whereever you find yourself"
"Praise be to Allah"
"There is no Diety worthy of worship except God"
"Allah is the greatest"
"Unavoidable thanks be to Allah"
"Allah the Bountiful, thanks be to you"
"Oh Allah, Shower all your blessings on our leader, Prophet Mohammed"
"Allah the Bountiful, thanks be to thee on whom we depend"
"Purity and Praise be to Allah"
"Oh Allah, who showers blessings on the righteous"
I thought it was quite nice to have these reminders of prayer along the road.
I know there were more than these that I jotted down. Any guesses on what this sign says?

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