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Attitudes Towards Freedom of Religion Among Nigerian Students

Chapter
Part of the Religion and Human Rights book series (REHU, volume 2)

Abstract

The question of religious freedom is as old as the human rights endeavour itself. Freedom of religion is a central theme in human rights and, in the last five decades, has come to dominate discussions in international circles. In Nigeria, human rights, especially fundamental rights, have long been adopted as legitimate moral and legal standards. The term ‘fundamental rights’ here refers to those basic human freedoms which are recognized worldwide as necessary for the development of the human person. Freedom of religion is one such fundamental right. However, recurring incidents of religious unrest in Nigeria have raised questions about the definition, exercise and enforcement of this right within the country. The aim of this study, therefore, is to find out what Nigerians, especially Nigerian youth, think about religious freedom, both individually and collectively as a group. Students in the last year of their secondary education constituted the research population (n = 1191). The survey was conducted in six states of the federation, plus the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The sample includes Christians (Catholics and Protestants) and Muslims. Initially, it was assumed – in the context of a lack of precise definition of this right in Nigeria’s Constitution – that the surveyed youth had negative attitudes towards religious freedom. However, the results reveal that this is not the case; on the contrary, their attitude towards this right is definitely positive.

Keywords

Freedom of religion Religions Identities Youth Constitution Empirical research Nigeria 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of TheologyUniversity of WürzburgWürzburgGermany

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