Religious Healing among War-Traumatized African Immigrants

John M. Janzen, Adrien Ngudiankama and Melissa Filippi-Franz

in Religion and Healing in America

Published in print December 2004 | ISBN: 9780195167962
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850150 | DOI:
Religious Healing among War-Traumatized African Immigrants

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This chapter explores religious healing among recent Somali and Great Lakes/Congolese African refugees and immigrants in the United States. As part of the more than 600,000 African-born US residents, they come from all over the continent: Sudan, where thousands have fled civil war and the repressive regime; Somalia, following civil war and the collapse of the state; Nigeria, because of ethnic violence and government repression; Rwanda and Burundi, following ethnic cleansing and genocide; and Congo/Zaire, in the shadow of government repression, economic hardship, and civil war. Increasingly familiar in these groups are the stories of hardship and persecution, flight, and arrival in the United States, the quest for a means of livelihood, and the struggle to become established in a new home. For many, there is the gnawing question of return, although this rarely happens. This chapter argues that unresolved traumas and lingering memories of conflict not only threaten to exacerbate the cycles of violence within the immigrants' societies of origin but also have the potential to afflict the American social fabric.

Keywords: United States; religious healing; refugees; immigrants; civil war; genocide; persecution; traumas; conflict; violence

Chapter.  6048 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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