islamic fundamentalism and sectarian violence: the "maitatsine" and "boko haram" crises in northern nigeria.

Great social thinkers like Karl Marx, Engels, Nietzsche, Lenin and David Hume have postulated the ‘death’ of religion in the face of philosophy, economy and improved standard of living condition of humans. The argument holds that suffering and social hardships make religion relevant in the society. Karl Marx, in fact, canvassed for the abolition of religion because it is illusory to genuine human happiness. For him, therefore, “The abolition of the religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness” (see, Social Theory: Marxism, retrieved from http:/ This philosophy and social theory of religion have influenced contemporary social theorists and thinkers. “Not least, Western-trained thinkers largely failed to foresee the resurgence of religion, because they had made a series of wrong assumptions about the place of religion in regimes of modernisation” (Ellis and Haar, 2004: 17). Modernity will take care of religion and give it its deserved place in the past. This is because the “practice of defining Western modernity in terms of ‘leaving religion behind’ has become common” (Willaime, 2006: 77; see also Monod, 2002). Modernity promotes secularism which denotes liberation from the ‘growing worldliness of religion’. For Marcel Gauchet (cited in Willaime, 2006: 83) “Religious belief is ceasing to be political. It is abandoning its time-honoured involvement in the form taken by human communities…This emancipation from the initial framework that contained the agreement about our world ushers us into a new age of politics and, more broadly, historical action”. Beck (1992: 10) summarises modernity vis-à-vis religion thus: “In the nineteenth century, privileges of rank and religious world views were being demystified…”