The âInterfaith Forum on Peace Buildingâ was held yesterday at the National Mosque of Nigeria in Abuja (pictured).
The meeting was organised by the Muslim Consultative Forum (MCF), to create a standing forum for mutual relationship and cooperation between the two religions, in the wake of the recent sectarian crisis and escalating mistrust.
The meeting at the mosque was attended by Nigeria's highest-ranking religious officials including the Catholic Archbishop John Onaiyekan.
Muslim groups had earlier visited churches and church officials of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) after the Christmas Day bombing, to forge a common front to confront religious extremists in the country.
At yesterday's forum, Archbishop Onaiyekan called for greater understanding between Christians and Muslims, to enhance peace and unity in the country, stressing that Nigerians must also work together irrespective of creed or politics, to face the recent insecurity challenges.
âWe should be challenged to believe in a better Nigeria and work for its realization.
âWe believe only God can fix Nigeria, while that may be true, it is equally true that God normally works through human beings ready to act in his name and pay the price of doing thisâ, he said.
The Archbishop advised leaders of the two religions to work out joint activities that would enhance unity and mutual respect.
âOur joint action will be based on common needs and shared faith values, as we are victims of corruption, which both Christianity and Islam condemned.â
The Chairman, Board of Trustee (BOT) of the forum, Gen. Bagudu Mamman, stressed that the meeting was to engender understanding and good relationship between Muslim and Christian groups in the country.
Mamman, represented by Alhaji Ibrahim Jega, Executive Secretary of the Mosque, said there was nothing fundamentally wrong in the relationship between the two religions.
âWe may not know the reason for our misunderstanding, but we believe everything is in the hand of Almighty who will help us to have a good relationship.
âWe have today the opportunity to exchange ideas and hear from both sides. What we can do further is to bring about understanding and remove any misconception among our followersâ, he said.
Other Muslim and Christian leaders present at the meeting were Ustaz Abubakar Siddiq, Justice Moses Abu, Hajia Maryam Dada, Rev.Micheal Gokum, Alhaji Khalifa Imam, Bar. Justina Maimagani, Alhaji Mohammed Ibrahim, Rev. Nwapuda Rowland, Alhaji Garba Mohammd and Agatha Chikelue.
"Archbishop Onaiyekan Visits National Mosque, Seeks Peace, Mutual Respect" Leadership 19 January 2012
"Nigeria: Archbishop Onaiyekan Visits National Mosque" Il sismografo 19 January 2012
Reproduced with permission from Islam Today