AFRICA/NIGERIA - "Good knowledge of other religions at the basis for dialogue between Christians and Muslims"

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "The Christian should take a bold step to study Islam while the Muslim should take bold step to study the Christian Religion. This knowledge of the facts of each other’s religion will go a long way to promote peaceful co-existence", said Most Rev. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos and President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria - CBCN while making a presentation at the third Enugu Diocesan Synod.
In his presentation titled, "Christian/Muslim Relationships in Nigeria and the Leadership Role of CBCN", Archbishop Kaigama stressed the importance of inculturation of faith both for Muslims and for Christian Nigerians. "One can be a true Muslim at the same time be a true African. You as well can be a true Christian at the same time be a true African. Nothing should stop us just now from making the promotion of human dignity and value a basis for dialogue". So, by rediscovering the common African values one can overcome ethnic divisions as well as religious. "If the Africans can rediscover the values of hospitality, love of community life, respect for elders and many others, we shall discover that ethnic wars will minimize greatly", said Mgr. Kaigama.
Although Nigeria is crossed by ethnic and religious conflicts, Mgr. Kaigama emphasized the role of those who, both Christian and Muslim, are working to promote dialogue and peaceful coexistence. These include Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja , Mgr. Mathew Ndagoso, Archbishop of Kaduna, and the Bishops of Sokoto, Maiduguri, Zaria and Kano. An important role is carried out by the Nigeria Inter Religious Council (NIREC), under the joint Chairmanship of the Sultan of Sokoto (who is also the President-General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs - NSCIA), and the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
While noting that there are socio-economic problems related to youth unemployment and often political competition and misunderstanding are reduced to Muslim/Christian conflicts simply because Christians and Muslims are the two dominant religions, Mgr. Kaigama noted that Christians can do a lot together with the Muslims in spite of the atrocities committed by Boko Haram and other radical groups in the name of Islam.
"We are ever prepared to cooperate with Muslim groups not only for eschatological motives but also for social harmony, progress and peace of Nigeria and Nigerians", concluded the Archbishop. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 14/11/2013)