By Frederick Peters, KADUNA..
The lnterfaith Forum for Muslim and Christian Women’s Association also known as Women’s Interfaith Council,(WIC) has ended a 3- Day training for Women and youth Interfaith leaders on “Enhancing peace processes and social Cohesion in conflict prone communities of Kaduna state” in partnership with Missio Internationales katholishes.
The training which held from Tuesday to Thursday drew participants from an array of women and youth interfaith groups, religious organizations and peace stakeholders in the state among others.
Speaking, the WIC Executive Director, Rev.Sr. Veronica Ifeyinwa Onyeanisi,OLA,said the essence of the the training is to build good relationship among Muslims and Christians as well as build bridges of peace between the two major religions in the state.
According to her,the level of discussions and participation is unprecedented “it has been enriching and enlightening for the participants which is manifested through their joy and zeal burning in them to go out and do a stepdown in their communities, because they have learnt a lot”
She said, the workshop “handled the Fundamentals of Islamic beliefs: theories and practices, The use and abuse of Jihad- early Caliphate; The tenets of Christian beliefs: Theories and practices, war and peace in Christianity crusaders; understanding of the framework of interreligious dialogue; conflict management/Early warning and early response. They were all happy both Christians and Muslims for the deeper understanding of the different faiths.
Pointing out that in doing a stepdown, if is a Muslim, he/she will look for Christian participant they will go together to do the step down, the same apply if it is the Christian adding that “they are longing for more and they are happy for this platform that is bringing them together and I expect that the grassroots will get the message from them”
Similarly, the representative of FOMWAN,Kaduna, Hajia Himdatu Sabo Inuwa,describing the workshop said ” the programme is very interesting because I learnt so many things, which I never knew”adding that there are similarities in the two religions,except for the issue of the “Trinity’ which she was able to understand from the workshop.
While appreciating the organizer of the training,she sued for peace, saying” we want peace especially in Kaduna state and all over Nigeria, especially the killings in Southern Kaduna, we want peace,we have to work together, we have to respect each other’s religion “she stressed
In the same vein, the WOWICAN,Kaduna state, Bishop Esther Yahweh,noted that the knowledge gathered at the training has been ‘wonderful’,especially on the issue of ‘Jihad’ that the explanation, by the Sheikh has made them to understand “that Jihad means their own evangelism or their way of preaching Islam to the people and not for war”
According to her,the two religions have Abraham as their Father, adding that ignorance is the cause of the conflicts ” so this teaching has brought joy and happiness and an eye-opener to many of us on the way we look at issues, but today,I can embrace my sister/brother and we can go back to the first love”she added
On her part, the representative of JNI,Women Wing,Kaduna State Chapter, noted that,she has learnt to appreciate each other’s religion “if you appreciate what the other person is doing, I don’t think there will be crises anywhere”
According to her,clarifications on some hidden facts about Christianity made her to appreciate and accommodate them; pointing out the need to appreciate the other person’s religion so as to move forward in the state, she urged
Lending her voice, the,PFN representative, Rev.Rose Opawoyi,further thanked God for the insight on the ‘Crusade’ and ‘Jihad’ saying “we have come to understand that the literal meaning of jihad,is struggle in your self to avoid evil to do good and as a Christian,we also know that a crusade is a struggle, from within your self to bring about a change from evil to good”
“So going out,by the grace of God am going to do a stepdown, carrying the message that there’s no need for us to quarrel” According to her, it is a the matter of misunderstanding and that some elements in the society take undue advantage of people’s ignorance about both religions to create crises.
Speaking the CWO president, Kaduna Archdiocese, Mrs Rose B. Zanden,simply said” the lessons, I have learnt is to live in peace with one another,to preach peace to the other people to step down the lectures we have learned to others so that at every corner of the state and in the world,if need be,they will preach peace because with out peace, you cannot do anything” she stressed
On their part,the Muslim Coordinator, Abdulmujeeb Olorungbobe,said their take home from the workshop is to try their best to let the youth out there understand and respect individual religious beliefs to be able to accommodate, and put an end to the violence in our society today.
Speaking further, the WIC Youth coordinator, Mr Garba Solomon,maintained that the happenings in society today informed the event, saying “you don’t see the peaceful coexistence, we grew up to see our parents lived,the society and communities are at loggerheads with each other,that informed the 3-day workshop
” from here,we are going down to our communities,to the grassroot,to the society, down to our schools and work place to step-down the information we have gotten here “he reiterated
The highlight of the 3day workshop include the presentation of Certificates to participants and the training manual among other things.