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'Christians Must All Convert'- Jihadist Group Claims Responsibility For Nigeria Bombings



KADUNA – A tense curfew was holding Monday across Nigeria after one of the worst days of violence between Muslims and Christians in memory as the nation continues to add new scars from sectarian violence.

Boko Haram, a Jihadist group with links to al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility Monday for the bombings, the latest in a series against churches in northern Nigeria, specifically targeting women and children. The radical Islamist group seeks to establish sharia law in Nigeria. In a statement published by the Osun Defender after the attacks, Boko Haram claimed "Christians must all convert to Islam in order to have peace."

For former Minister of Defense, Adetokunbo Kayode, Boko Haram has "no doubt overwhelmed the country's security apparatus." He added that Nigeria was not used to terrorism and that it would take time for the government to address the situation.

"It was another dark Sunday yesterday as rage, blood-letting from suicide bombing and reprisal attacks in Kaduna and Zaria brought the two cities to their knees," writes the Nigerian daily The Guardian.

The first attack was at a children's Christian Sunday school in Zaria, reports the Vanguard, where 10 students and their teacher were killed. According to eyewitness accounts, five men "ran up to the church and hurled home-made bombs through its open doors."

Later, at Christ the King Cathedral in Zaria, 11 worshippers were killed by a suicide bomber, and scores more injured. The third attack occurred in Shalom Church in Kaduna, where five people were also killed by a suicide bomber.

Soon after the bombings, groups of Christian youths went on a rampage, torching mosques, cars and Muslim homes, and killing many people. "Sporadic gunshots rent the air in the areas as residents were holed up in their homes. Armored tanks and military patrol vehicles were immediately deployed in the streets to beef up security," reports the Guardian.

The state government was quick to stem the violence by imposing a 24-hour curfew. All together, more than 50 people were killed on Sunday. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, called for calm, saying that attacking innocent people, who have nothing to do with the suicide attacks, served only to worsen an already complicated situation.

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A Refuge From China's Rat Race: The Young People Flocking To Buddhist Monasteries

Unemployment, stress in the workplace, economic difficulties: more and more young Chinese graduates are flocking to monasteries to find "another school of life."

Photograph of a girl praying at a temple during Chinese Lunar New Year. She is burning incense.

Feb 20, 2015 - Huaibei, China - Chinese worshippers pray at a temple during the Lunar New Yeat

Frédéric Schaeffer

JIAXING — It's already dawn at Xianghai Temple when Lin, 26, goes to the Hall of 10,000 Buddhas for the 5:30 a.m. prayer.

Still half-asleep, the young woman joins the monks in chanting mantras and reciting sacred texts for an hour. Kneeling, she bows three times to Vairocana, also known as the Great Sun Buddha, who dominates the 42-meter-high hall representing the cosmos.

Before grabbing a vegetarian breakfast in the adjacent refectory, monks and devotees chant around the hall to the sound of drums and gongs.

"I resigned last October from the e-commerce company where I had been working for the past two years in Nanjing, and joined the temple in January, where I am now a volunteer in residence," explains the young woman, soberly dressed in black pants and a cream linen jacket.

Located in the city of Jiaxing, over a hundred kilometers from Shanghai, in eastern China, the Xianghai temple is home to some 20 permanent volunteers.

Unlike Lin, most of them only stay for a couple days or a few weeks. But for Lin, who spends most of her free time studying Buddhist texts in the temple library, the change in her life has been radical. "I used to do the same job every day, sometimes until very late at night, writing all kinds of reports for my boss. I was exhausted physically and mentally. I felt my life had no meaning," she says.

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