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 

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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 

No Muslim can justify that Quran teaches violence – Most Reverend Idowu-Fearon

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The Secretary-General of the Consultative Council of the Anglican Communion Worldwide and former Archbishop of the Anglican Communion (Kaduna Province), Most Reverend Josiah Idowu-Fearon, has hinted that the killings in the country by Boko Haram terrorists have nothing to do with Islam.

He stated that he has never justified violence but that the Quran does not support it despite that the killings had always been attributed to Islam.

In an interview with the Punch, the Most Reverend said there is no difference in ethics and values between Christians and Muslims and called on any critic to challenge him over his stand that there is not any difference between Christianity and Islam.

On why there is so much killings wherever there is Islam, Fearon stated, “That is a very good question. I go back to my Bible and to my field of interest. Judaism, Christianity and Islam have the tendency to be violent. There is violence in these religions. Why? It is because they have written scriptures. Any religion that has a written scripture can be misinterpreted. Interpretation is the problem.

“You talked about violence. In the Quran, you are told; there is no compulsion in religion. It is there. The Quran does not allow you enforce your religion on anybody. It is not allowed; it is clearly stated.

“The Quran makes it clear that we are different. You have your religion; I have my religion; to you your religion; to me, my religion. So, it is a question of interpretation.

“I am not justifying any violence – my Muslim brothers know that I am totally against anything like Boko Haram or Muslim vandals going to kill people and destroy their property. That is not the teaching of Quran. They cannot justify it; just as I as a Christian cannot justify the killing of Muslims in Central Africa today. That is my area. I cover Africa. I am the Chair for the Programme of Muslim-Christian Relations in Africa. I am telling you what is happening. You cannot justify it. So, the bottom line: we need to go back to obeying what we have in our scriptures.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE DAILY POST (NIGERIA)

The Christian Case for Nigeria’s New Muslim President

2014123192216857734_20Nigeria’s newest president is Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim endorsed by Christian leaders who hope he can combat corruption and sectarian terrorism.

A former general who ruled Nigeria for a short time after a military coup in the 1980s, Buhari beat out incumbent Goodluck Jonathan by nearly 2 million votes. It is the first time in Nigerian history that an opposition candidate won the presidential election, according to The Economist. Buhari had finished as a runner-up in three previous elections.

“Despite the enormous tension and apprehension that preceded the election, Nigerians have demonstrated political maturity that elections can be won and lost without recourse to violence or acrimony,” said the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ayo Oritsejafor, in a statement.

His colleague, Shuaibu Byel, who leads CAN’s northeast branch, praised Jonathan for accepting defeat and congratulating Buhari, calling him “a man of peace.”

Catholic bishops, among other religious leaders, see Buhari as “a man of integrityand decency who can fight corruption and Boko Haram,” John Bakeni, secretary of the Catholic diocese in Maiduguri, told RNS.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CHRISTIANITY TODAY 

Nigeria: Christians, Muslims Mark the Birth of Prophet Muhammad Together

christian-and-muslim-leaders-in-nigeriaKaduna — Christians in Kaduna State yesterday joined their Muslim neighbours in a feast to mark the Eid-el-Maulud as hundreds of adherents of both religions gathered at the Conference Hall of the Arewa House.

The event brought together, men, women, the young, old, community leaders, Islamic scholars, community youth leaders and pastors.

There were interactions, eating and drinking in the spirit of oneness. President of the Peace, Revival and Reconciliation Foundation, Pastor Yohanna Buru, who organised the gathering, said the essence was to bring Muslims and Christians together in unity, love and mutual understanding in order to promote peaceful co-existence.

“During the Christmas celebration, I invited my brothers, friends, neighbours and my fellow Muslims, and they came to Sabon Tasha which is considered by most people as a no-go area for Muslims but they came in hundreds, in fact almost a thousand people were present for the celebration. So, I thought it wise to also celebrate the Eid-el- Maulud with my fellow Muslims to mark the birth of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). They showed me love, they believe in Jesus Christ as I believe in Him and as it is said that you do unto others as you want them do unto you, so I decided to celebrate Maulud with the Muslims as a friend and brother,” Buru explained.

FULL ARTICLE FROM ALLAFRICA.COM