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Christians attacked after schools merge in Nigeria comment (0)

January 2, 2014

JOS, Nigeria — Educational reforms in Nigeria’s Osun state have created religious tensions in schools, resulting in Islamist youth beating a Christian principal unconscious in November 2013, Christian leaders said.

The state in southwestern Nigeria reclassified schools in September, thus merging those originally founded by Christian missionaries with other schools. The mergers, including the blending of single-sex schools with co-ed schools, require Muslims to attend the institutions of Christian heritage, the Christian leaders said. The Christian “missionary” schools, taken over by the state in 1975, have been considered public schools since then.

Among tensions created under the September changes, Islamist youth armed with axes and cutlasses Nov. 25 attacked staff members and students at the Baptist High School-Ejigbo after administrators enforced a ban on the hijab, a covering for head or body used by Muslim women. The Nigerian Baptist Convention had rejected the Osun government decision to send Muslim students to schools of Christian heritage, saying they would not allow hijab-wearing students to attend. Convention leaders said the new education policy of state Gov. Rauf Aregbesola, a Muslim, was an attempt to Islamize schools and force Islam on Christians.

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