A religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence. Many religions have narratives, symbols, and sacred histories that aim to explain the meaning of life, the origin of life, or the Universe. Migration is the movement of population from one area to another. Some migrations are forced, voluntary, permanent and temporary, International and regional. The type of migration that we are principally interested in this unit is Rural to urban migration, which is the movement of people from countryside to city areas.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RELIGION AND DEVELOPMENT OF RURAL-URBAN MIGRATION IN NIGERIA
Changes in religious demography are often consequences, and often goals, of human mass migration to other territories. Often, the goals of a political migration is to establish a territory and government which is biased towards and welcoming of members of the same sect.
The relationship between region and migration can be approached in two ways. What is the significance of religion in the context of migration? And: what significance does migration have for religion? Normally the emphasis is on the first of these two questions. People then ask how important religion is in the self-organisation and mobilisation of migrants. The second question is largely passed over. In this text the emphasis is different: it asks in what way the experience of migration endows the religious search with a specific orientation, what questions it raises and what answers it presents.
Religion and community
Religion plays a role in different levels of community life. It can simply be a very personal issue of the spiritual life of an individual; it may be an aspect of community building or even the basic reason for community life as it is difficult to live the Christian faith without
a congregation. At the state level, religion can be looked at in different ways: it may be an instrument for political and social cohesion or it may be left completely in the private sphere.
Religion can also become a major cause of conflicts within a state. All three of these aspects play a role in migration processes. There are individual implications, but community life and the internal cohesion within a country may also be influenced by this factor.
Religion and the individual
For many people, religion is a component of their personal identities; a specific creed is part of a person’s life. The teachings, traditions and habits of a specific religion will influence these people in their behaviour, approaches to situations and relations to each other. A person’s value system is often based on religion.
Religion can be an important part of the cultural capital of an individual, and if a person migrates to another country he or she will carry these elements of faith.
Places of worship in migration
These districts are the places which shape the immigrant religions that develop there. Turning to religion is initially one way of finding answers to the problems resulting from migration. This is reflected in the character of the places of worship. Storefront churches, Jewish corner prayer rooms and backyard mosques are much more than places of worship where people meet to pray. They are community centres and self-help organisations, refuges for new arrivals, places that provide help in cases of emergency, social clubs, and information networks. Here flats and jobs are found and cars sold.
In summary, it can be said that churches and all faith communities of receiving countries have a role to play in the migration process. The migrants themselves also have responsibilities. If they choose to create separate congregations with strong tendencies to isolate themselves, to avoid contact with the host society, this isolation may lead to a ghetto situation from where mistrust and xenophobic attitudes may rise in the host community.
In order to allow faith communities to play this important role of bridge building positively, states will have to guaranty correct legislation on migration and asylum issues and on religious freedom.