CAIRO - Away from the images of religious division that sticks to Nigeria, residents of the Muslim-majority northeastern Nigeria state of Adamawa show the true-face of religious harmony amid cop-reparations for the Christmas celebrations.
“We enjoy celebrating together. On Christmas Day, my neighbors always give me food - cookies, chicken and rice,” Muhammad Sani, a resident in Yola, the capital of Adamawa, told Deutsch Welle.
“During the Muslim festivals, we also do the same and invite the Christians.”
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Yola Muslim and Christian residents have been enjoying religious coexistence for decades, in spite of different stories about religious discrimination in the African nation.
Neighbors of both faiths, in many parts of Nigeria, used to gather in the major religious feats, share food and make pleasant wishes.
“You really must celebrate Christmas with us. You are most cordially invited,” Phinear Padio, a Christian resident, asks his neighbor Sani, who nods.
“The past two years, I wasn't in Yola over Christmas so we couldn't celebrate together. I'm glad it will work out this year.”
The relation between Padio and sani reflects the religious harmony in the Northern state of Adamawa.
“They are all coming, my neighbors and my friends,” said Alice, Phinear's wife, who is preparing to host Muslim and Christian neighbors during the Christmas eve.
“Here in Yola my best friends are Muslims. We talk, we eat together, we do everything together. There is no difference between us,” Alice added.
Christmas is the main festival on the Christian calendar. Its celebrations reach its peak at 12:00 PM on December 24 of every year.
Muslims believe in Jesus as one of the great Prophets of God and that he is the son of Mary but not the Son of God. He was conceived and born miraculously.
In the Noble Qur’an, Jesus is called “Isa”. He is also known as Al-Masih (the Christ) and Ibn Maryam (Son of Mary).
Muslim scholars assert that Muslims have their own identity and in order to keep this identity they must not celebrate Christmas or holidays of non-Muslims.
Muslim residents in Adamawa sate reject the deplorable images of sectarian violence in Nigeria.
“It's a pity that people in other countries get the impression that Christians are fighting Muslims. That's not true at all, “said Muhammad Sani.
“Christians and Muslims live together peacefully. Even in a family, there may be different religions.”
Sani asserted that the modesty of Yola residents is the reason behind the years-long tolerance and harmony between Muslims and Christians.
“Here there is no space for radical ideas,” sani said.
“The majority of residents in Adamawa belong to the Fulani ethnic group.
“There are an uncomplicated people and most of them practice Islam. But Adamawa is not like other states, there is no Sharia law,” he said.
The faiths coexistence in Adamawa makes it the destination for many Christians in Nigeria.
Nigeria, one of the world's most religiously committed nations, is divided between a Muslim north and a Christian south.
Muslims and Christians, who constitute 55 and 40 percent of Nigeria's 140 million population respectively, have lived in peace for the most part.
But ethnic and religious tensions have bubbled for years, fuelled by decades of resentment between indigenous groups, mostly Christian or animist, who are vying for control of fertile farmlands with migrants and settlers from the Hausa-speaking Muslim north.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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