On the outskirts of Kano, an ancient city in northern Nigeria, the Reverend Anthony Anike pulls his beat-up Peugeot off a paved road cut through scrub vegetation and onto a rutted path alongside two rows of partially completed mud-block houses.

Seventy-five Catholics waiting patiently near a lone flame tree line up when they see his car and begin singing an Igbo hymn. As they sing, they file into several small rooms in one of the houses. Those who cannot find space in the packed rooms take seats on wooden benches in the shade of the building.

Minutes later, Anike, now clad in gold vestments and preaching from a hastily assembled altar in one of the tiny rooms, quotes Jesus in words that are meaningful to this congregation without a home.

"Cut off from me," the pastor says, "you will achieve nothing." The parishioners, members of the Igbo ethnic group, say they often feel isolated in the northern reaches of their own country, where Muslim members of the Hausa-Fulani ethnic group are in firm control.

IS PEACE WITH ISLAM POSSIBLE? With the rapid growth of Christianity in sub-Saharan Africa, one of the critical challenges for the next century will be finding a way to live in peace with Islam.

Twice this decade, in 1991 and 1995, religious fighting that killed hundreds erupted here in West Africa's oldest city. Churches and mosques were burned to the ground in the last round.

Most Christians live in a quarter of Kano called the Sabon Gari, and it is difficult for them to win permission to build churches outside that sector. Anike ministers to five of these "outstations" on the city's edge as well as to the church in Sabon Gari.

With Islam also growing rapidly in sub-Saharan Africa, there are glimpses of two distinctly different futures, ...

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