…Laments segregated communities in the state
..Frowns at negative influence by politicians, religious leaders on peace
NEWSDAILYNIGERIA– The Makera/ Kakuri community of Kaduna south local government of Kaduna state played host to ZAMAN TARE project team, where stakeholders and participants among other things advocated for Interreligious marriage as solution to enduring peace in Kaduna and the country at large.
The intercultural and interreligious conference which had the theme ” Preventing Ethno Religious Conflict in a Pluralistic Society” is part of activities of visits to 8 selected communities in 4 LGAs of the metropolis in promoting cultural and religious tolerance,
A project of Caritas Nigeria, Funded by European Union, (EU) in partnership with CAFOD and DREP. Zaman Tare is presently operating in Kaduna and Jos in Nigeria and Niger Republic.
Speaking the Field Officer, Zaman Tare, Kaduna, Mr Innocent Madukwu said the essence of the conference to the selected communities is strategically based on a research findings on the communities to strengthen their religious and cultural pluralism.
He further hinted that the interaction is segmented across gender to ensure easy and free interaction by the Women/girls and Men/youth groups among other things.
Similarly, the Women leader, Zaman Tare, Makera Community, Hajia Mummy Yuguda said the conference is encouraging and meaningful,while appreciating the initiators in their efforts in promoting peace urged Muslims and Christians to live in peace, truth and justice and frown at any form of partiality, discrimination and negative influence of politicians in dividing them along religious lines.
Reacting on the issue of interreligious marriages as advocated by several participants she said ” a Muslim can marry a Christian likewise a Christian marrying a Muslim, it’s one’s choice and no one should force any one; because we have the same God and grand parents ( Adam/Eve)”she added
While lamenting the work of enemies of peace, she commended the awareness created by Zaman Tare with a call on religious leaders to sensitize their followers on the issue of intercultural and interreligious tolerance.
In the same vein, speaking in Hausa, Hajia Amina Suleiman described the meeting as a success adding that, it has created awareness to live in peace between Christians and Muslims and how they meet and settle issues couple with the sharing of foods and gifts items during festivities. unlike in the past.
While calling on Religious leaders to teach Parents the right values they need to live in peace between the two faiths, noted that, marriage between a Muslim and Christian man or woman, ” if God allows it, no one should try to prevent it, it happens, it just that we don’t have the numbers,
” if one is a Christian and the other is Muslim there’s no problem, it is God that planned it, this will make it possible to have Christians and Muslims in that family and that should not cause problem, because we are one and God gave us religion to make us live in peace ” she stressed
On her part, Mrs Fatima Lawan, said due to interreligious marriage and tolerance in her family she still bears her Muslim name unhindered, ” My husband, Mother and Father,children still call me with my Muslim name; l don’t see any big deal about that “
According to her, ” in our family, we have Christian and Muslim siblings, because we have the same God and we have some Christians marrying Muslims and Muslims marrying Christians and they still keep their faiths; what is important is understanding ” she reiterated
On his part, one of the Male participants, Yakubu Sani,while appreciating the success of the conference in his community prayed for peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Christians.
He lamented the politization of conflicts in the state and country, while noting that in the past people of different religious and cultural persuasions live in peace, evident in the way their parents and grand parents lived with their neighbours
He said ” we schooled together, we ate together during Sallah, until politicians came to divide us for their personal aggrandizement, hence the segregated communities we now have along religious divides across the state.
Speaking further, he urged all and sundry to go back to the former way we use to live, with a call on the Youths to be patient with their Christian and Muslim neighbours and resist the antics of politicians to divide them.
On his part, Chief John way Eze, said ” what I have seen today has strengthened peaceful coexistence and taught us how to live together and desists religious sentiments because we have one God as Christians and Muslims “
He charged the organizers, Zaman Tare project team to sustain the meeting ” because in Nigeria alot has gone wrong and it will take time to address it ” He further reechoed the interreligious harmony that existed in the past, but now eroded
He also blamed Politicians for destabilizing the respect, honour and conduct of the traditional institutions by politizing it and frowned at how titles are paid for and people of impeccable standing are not appointed as part of the issues mitigating their disposition to ensure peaceful coexistence.