As part of this year international inter-faith week and Harmony celebration, A Muslim woman Hajiya Ramatu has Visited southern kaduna church “The church of Christ evangelical and Life intervention ministry “ sabon tasha-kaduna state north-western Nigeria with the aims of honoring some devoted church members, so as to promote the teachings and principles of interfaith dialogue and religious tolerance in the country.
She said the week celebrate the principles of tolerance and respect for one another that are deeply rooted in the world’s major religions, stressing that was why United Nations declare and dedicate first week of this month to promote all activities that encourage and enhance religious activities worldwide.
Ramatu says ,Inter-faith engagement unites people across faith and ideological lines and encourages mutual trust, shared values, and understanding among different multicultural and multireligious bodies.
Adding also that interfaith dialogue is important because communities that are built on a shared set of values are the foundations of a strong society
And that without inter-religious harmony, freedom of religion is almost impossible to achieve in a society.
According to her, she donated gifts to church workers, including the best chorister in the band, children choir, as a way of promoting peaceful co-existence and religious tolerance in the northern part of the country that has been facing ethno-religious ,political crisis.
Christians, just like Muslims have to play a prominent role in creating a society where they can co-exist with their neighbors Muslims and live peacefully.
Ramatu Tijjani, who is also said to be a peace ambassador and interfaith professional mediator in Nigeria says
”This is to boost religious tolerance, forgiveness, love and better understanding among Muslims and Christians. ”So as to shun all forms of ethno-religious, political crisis bedeviling peace and stability in the northern part of Nigeria, especially the northern region”
One of the most effective antidotes to hate, violence, and injustice is the power and effectiveness of different inter-religious communities of the world working together.
The hijabite sister,who is also a special in conflict prevention in Nigeria says, Inter-faith dialogue recognizes that human beings are fundamentally equal and respect for human dignity is the fundamental principle of our religion. Respect for people who belong to different religions, even with the ones we most profoundly disagree is the first step. By giving respect to people from other religion, we can engage in meaningful dialogue.
“We want to eliminate the differences of inter- and intra-religious disputes through education and dialogue.”
“We should focus on educating our children and teaching them to love other religions as well.”
“Every major religion teaches you to treat others with love, and to respect the difference of opinion,”
She says all the religions promote peace, love and tolerance. The religious leaders from all faiths must promote these values if we are dreaming of a cohesive society but unfortunately, there are very limited efforts to create respect for other faiths among the masses.
Additionally ,Respect for others must also include respecting their freedom of expression in other to live in peace and harmony,stressing also that Religious freedom and tolerance are instrumentally important in forging a better world.
She said people are unaware of their fundamental human rights, while stressing that It’s an attempt to highlight the criticality of abiding by these ideals – such as adherence to rule of law, primacy and sanctity of constitution, equal citizenry, responsible citizenship, respect for fundamental human rights, tolerance for diversity and different opinions, inclusive democracy and good governance – as a measure of fostering social cohesion and peaceful co-existence.
“Nothing is more important than humanity. Humans need to respect humans to live in peace and harmony.”
She further pointed out that Interfaith cooperation among religious communities around the world is a powerful counterbalance to hate, violence, and injustice
Human life is a creation of God and its respect and value must be given the highest precedence even if the world perceives it as expendable for reasons such as political power, economic gain etc.
The care and protection of lives of people belonging to any religion is another aspect of inter-religious dialogue.
Tijjani said “last 2 years , I shared 50 Hausa translated Bibles to churches in other to create more awareness that we all from One God ,and we worshipped one God, Adam and Eve were our original parent, we all believed in Bible and Qur’an, pointing out clearly that religions preaches, peace, harmony, forgiveness and tolerance and also calls for the promotion of interreligious Harmony.
The impact of the ethno-religious and political crisis in the state some years back claimed hundreds of lives and properties has left so many setbacks and damages to peace settlement in the region which immensely cause separation in communities in the north.
She says,this is the 5th times,she is organizing interfaith harmony celebration in Nigeria
Ramatu emphasized the importance of creation of institutes of comparatives studies in the country, which according to her the creation for institutes of comparative studies will surely increase better understanding, religious tolerance, forgiveness, reduce blaspheming tendencies, and how to live in peace and harmony between Muslims and Christians and other religious believers, in accordance with the teachings of the Holy books, and this will boost the activities of local and international interfaith activities across the 36 states of Nigeria and some part of African countries.
Additionally she said noted that there are more than 6,000 religions in the world, most of which are very different from the literate Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), that many people think of when they hear the word “religion.”
“In order to make statements or generalizations about religion – the concept of religion, rather than a specific religion or group of religions – we need to engage in a comparative study of religions, so as to reduce ethno-religious attacks and blaspheming.”
Nigeria has been facing different forms of religious violence and attacks to holy places by both Muslims and Christians for many years, causing series of set-backs confronting all forms of socio-political, economic and peace stability in the country.
Ramatu said “A comparative study is not about proselytizing or attempting to convert people from one religion to another, but it is an attempt to understand human behavior in a very broad sense. And if Government can introduce a course in our school, this will surely help in tackling all forms of religious differences and other forms of ethnicity-induced crisis.”
She also indicated that ,they are organizing sport competition among different faith-based organization, which is duly meant to promote inter-faith activities across Nigeria & African countries, also coming –up with an environmental sanitation with some environmental expert ,which is targeted toward rising more awareness on interfaith activities through hygiene campaign in local communities to sensitize the public about interfaith activities through religious teaching .
While appreciating the effort of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and observatoire pharos for their commitment in peace building in Nigeria,
She finally called on State and Federal government, Non Governmental Organization, NGO, and civil societies organization and Human Right, tradional Rulers ,youth organization ,community organization,to immensely support during the week through the spread of interfaith harmony and good will in the world’s Churches, Mosques, Synagogues,Temples and other places of worship on the need for peaceful coexistence.
The peace ambassadors says,she is going to shares Islamic study books to some Arabic schools
Receiving the gifts , the general overseer of the Church, Pastor Yohanna Buru and pastor Reverend evangelist jonathan , expressed satisfaction with the donation and appealed to Christians and Moslems to learn how to tolerate, accommodate and live in peace with one another in order to make the country great and peaceful.
Pastor Yohanna said “the place of worship belong to God, we must do everything to protect mosques and churches against unbelievers that are destroying our holy places.
Pastor Buru said, as the interfaith and harmony week commences, “We are going to organize endurance Trekking for both Muslims and Christians Clerics to create awareness to the public, and also organise Reading and written competition among Muslims and Christians in schools,Inmate, and less privilege in the societies ,so as to enhance understanding of harmony among youths.
Buru said we as Christians, we will also donate more praying matt and plastic kettles to some mosques ,in other to foster peaceful co-existence, and share more beautiful White-colour-paints to mosques, to sustain Good relationship between muslims-christians throughout the week.
Interfaith harmony week is usually celebrated world-wide in first week of February Annually