Nigerian bishop promotes dialogue between Muslims and Christians after years of violence

6a28c5584939387432295685a18f4533_XLVANCOUVER – In the 23 years since Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama became a bishop, he has not taken one day off from promoting dialogue and peace between Christians and Muslims.

“If there is anybody who should be advocating a violent response to Muslim attacks, it should be me,” he told The B.C. Catholic during his first visit to Canada June 7-14. “I have experienced it in my ethnic group and from my work as a priest. I should know. My people have died in front of me.”

In 2014, the world was shocked when more than 270 girls from the primarily Christian Nigerian town of Chibok were kidnapped by terrorist group Boko Haram, forced to convert and held for ransom.

It wasn’t an isolated incident, and violence, terrorism and corruption are still daily realities in Nigerian communities. In January, a mass funeral was held for 72 people killed during a fight between what appeared to be mostly Muslim cattle herders and mainly Christian farmers on New Year’s Day. About three months later, 19 Christians were killed when gunmen opened fire at Mass and set fire to about 50 homes in a remote village. Among the dead were two priests.

“It has always been a challenge. There has never been a peaceful moment,” said Kaigama, whose trip through several Canadian cities was sponsored by Aid to the Church in Need, a pontifical charity for Catholics suffering poverty or persecution.

Despite his anger, Kaigama says violence will only lead to more violence. So, since his ordination at the age of 36, he has been promoting peace and inter-religious dialogue. “Either we do something, or we perish together.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CATHOLIC REGISTER 

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Muslims call for joint protest with Christians over incessant killings

 

Nigerian-MuslimsThe Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, has suggested that a joint protest by Christians and Muslims against the incessant killings going on in parts of the country be organized.

While commending the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, over the peaceful nature of protests held over killings in the country, MURIC said that the bloodshed was not limited to only Christians.

A statement made available on Monday and signed by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, suggested that a joint protest by both faiths would have been more appropriate.

“The Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, acknowledges the rights of groups to express themselves in a democratic setting. We also commend the Christian protesters for conducting themselves peacefully. We affirm clearly, categorically and unequivocally that life is sacred and no Nigerian citizen, whether Christian or Muslim, deserves to be killed.

“However, we reaffirm our earlier position that Christians have not been the only victims of the killings around the country. Muslims are losing hundreds of faithful on a monthly basis in the North East as Boko Haram unleashes terror on the predominantly Muslim populace. 36 Muslims were killed in Birane Village in Zurmi Local Council, Zamfara State on February 16, 2018. Six Muslims were killed in Jidari Polo area of Maiduguri on April 26, 2018,” the statement explained.

 

FULL ARTICLE FROM DAILY POST (NIGERIA)

Lent: Muslims group urges Christians to pray for peace, stability in Nigeria

christian-muslimMuslim Clerics and Youth Organization on Thursday felicitated with Christians on the commencement of the Lenten season and urged them to use the occasion to pray for peace and stability in the country.

Head of the organization, Malam Gambo Abdullahi, made the appeal when he led members on a solidarity visit to Pastor Yohanna Buru, General Overseer of Christ Evangelical Intercessory Fellowship Ministry in Kaduna. “The Lenten period is a very special Holy season to all Christians, we as Muslims, who also fast during Ramadan, understand the significance of fasting and prayers to the Almighty God. “Hence, we came as a team to felicitate and wish all Christians success from the beginning of the holy month till the end”. He said the visit was also to encourage peaceful coexistence and religious tolerance.

FULL ARTICLE FROM VANGUARD 

Shia Muslims visit Nigerian churches to celebrate Christmas with Christians

christmas-nigeria2-0Muslim community group has visited a series of churches in a major Nigerian city to show their solidarity with its Christianpopulation.

Members of the Islamic Movement, known as locally the Shia after their religious denomination, visited three major churches in Kaduna.

The city in the country’s north west, has seen widespread religious violence in the past.

Despite being part of the Muslim north, Kaduna has a significant Christian minority. The area has witnessed religious violence in the past.

Although, it remains relatively segregated after riots between February and May 2000, that began over the decision to implement Sharia law across Kaduna State.

Almost 1,000 people died in the violence, which also saw a number of homes and businesses destroyed. It only ended when the Nigerian army intervened to restore calm.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE INDEPENDENT (UK)

Tired of communal conflicts in northern Nigeria, women-led peace networks take action

59b01f971400002800fa8470“We need peace. We are tired of conflicts. So many innocent people have died and we have to stop the violence. That is why I contribute to peace-making”, says Hadiza Adam, a 38-year-old woman from Angwan Rogo community in Jos North, located in the northern Nigerian state of Plateau.

At least 4,000 people have been killed in the recurring communal violence in the Plateau State since 2001. The predominantly Muslim community of Angwan Rogo, 2.1km (1.3 miles) from the state capital, Jos, was one of the hardest hit areas. The ethno-religious crisis was precipitated by political and economic rivalry, and disputes among indigenous and non-indigenous groups. Tensions continue to simmer over land rights, allocation of state resources, as well as politics and religious differences, among other issues.

Ms. Adam is one of the 400 members of the women-led peace network in Plateau State, created with the support of UN Women under the European Union-funded rogramme, Promoting Women’s Engagement in Peace and Security in Northern Nigeria. The four-year programme (2014-2018) supports the Nigerian Government in three northern states (Plateau, Adamawa and Gombe) in strengthening women’s leadership, advancing gender equality and improving protection for women and children in conflict settings. It is being implemented in partnership with the federal and state ministries of women affairs, UNICEF and grassroots leaders and organizations.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST 

Nigeria University reconciles Christians, Muslims divided by Boko Haram

aun-photoThe American University of Nigeria (AUN) on Tuesday took a major step to reconcile residents of Mubi Local Government Area of Adamawa State.

Mubi is one of the local government areas in Nigeria’s North-east zone that Boko Haram insurgents overran and occupied for months in 2014.

During the crisis, the relationship between Christians and Muslims in the town said to be one of the largest in the state, was seriously strained.

But through its Peer-to-Peer Challenging Extremism campaign tagged, #IAmABeliever, the AUN brought members of Christian and Muslim self-protection groups together for training and sharing of stories on how they survived the Boko Haram carnage.

The programme titled, “Stories-for-Peace Workshop,” was organized by AUN students in collaboration with Illusions of Reflection – a Mubi-based youth group.

The workshop was attended by over 500 members of the Boys Brigade, a non-denominational Christian security group and the Nigerian Aid Group of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam, a Muslim protection group.

Two highly revered religious leaders, Hamid Hammad and Ezekiel Williams, also attended the event.

Addressing the participants, Sheik Hammad lauded the AUN initiative and emphasised the importance of true and uniting stories in peace-building.

FULL ARTICLE FROM PREMIUM TIMES (NIGERIA)

Nigerian Christians and Muslims open historic peace centre

christian-and-muslim-leaders-in-nigeriaNigerian Christians and Muslims gathered on 19 August to open the International Centre for Inter-Faith Peace and Harmony (ICIPH).

The centre is located in Kaduna, where more than 20,000 people have died in various conflicts over the last three decades. Amid a growing number of interfaith initiatives in Nigeria, the new centre has a unique goal: to systematically document interfaith relations to inform national and international policy-making.

Key local Nigerian organisations, the Christian Council of Nigeria and Jama’atu Nasril Islam, led the effort to open the centre, which was preceded in 2014 by a consultative forum held in Abuja that drew about 40 Muslim and Christian leaders.

Many supporters were recognised at the grand opening, among them Dr Emmanuel Josiah Udofia, primate of the African Church and president of the Christian Council of Nigeria, Sultan of Sokoto Sa’adu Abubakar, and Dr Khalid Aliyu, Secretary General of Jama’atu Nasril Islam.

Prince Ghazi of Jordan and Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja were also among those who envisioned the centre’s goals and outcomes.

Malam Nasir EL-Rufai, governor of Kaduna State, formerly opened the centre. He shared his experience of the way that religious leaders, both Christian and Muslim, sometimes speak and act in ways that hinder interreligious peace, so he was very pleased to support the centre as a physical symbol helping Muslims and Christians work together more effectively.

Abubakar also voiced his support for the centre, and spoke about how God wants there to be religious diversity in Nigeria. Onaiyekan said he believed the centre could potentially become a model for conflict resolution in other parts of the world.

FULL ARTICLE FROM EKKLESIA.UK