Prof. Rafatu Abdulhamid, a Lecturer in the Department of Islamic Studies, University of Abuja has called on mothers to play the key role in advising their children to desist from being used as tools for religious violence in view of the upcoming general elections in the country.
Abdulhamid was speaking in Maraba on Saturday during a seminar on the need for peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Christians.
The seminar was organised by the Cardinal Onaiyekan Foundation for Peace (COFP) in collaboration with the Arise Muslims and Youths Educational Initiatives with the theme:” Promoting Peaceful Coexistence through Religious Understanding ”.
Abdulhamid said that there was need for more awareness creations to be made especially as the country approached the elections so as to get rid of any form of violence.
” This seminar is geared towards increasing awareness on the need for peaceful coexistence and harmonious living between christians and Muslims .
“We are living witnesses to the crisis that has been persistent among the community of Muslims and Christians together where we have violence and massive destructions of lives and properties.
“We specifically choose mothers as they are keys and builders of a society, when the mother is peaceful, the society will be peaceful because she holds the responsibility of making her home a peaceful home starting from her children, her humble self and her husband.
” So when the family is peaceful, the larger society will also be peaceful . When mothers accept to play this vital role, it will go a long way in not developing our community alone but the society at large,” she said.
The don also advised mothers to always alert their children never to be an instrument in the hands of politicians who may be bent at using then to cause chaos during and after the elections through religious violence.
According to her, religion should never be a tool for violence but rather for peaceful coexistence, unity and security.
She, therefore, thanked the COFP for coming up with such programme, while seeking for similar collaborations in the near future, that would continue to help in canvassing for peace among the people.
Also, Dr Gero Ahmed, from the Department of Islamic Studies, University of Abuja, said that there was no need for disharmony between the two religion as God had given each religion the power of worship based on understanding of their faith.
Ahmed said Nigeria would only experience national unity if there was peace, while calling on Nigerians to stick to their beliefs while respecting the beliefs of others.
” Living together in coexistence is what God wants us to do. Islam came and met other religions like Christianity and Judaism as prophet Mohammed stayed with them and even married a Christian as a wife.
” Living together has been a long issue, Islam allows intermarriage but we are having this problems because of differences in politics as politicians and religious leaders contribute to the problems by taking advantage of the people.
“This is because not everybody understand the Quran and the Bible, so they take advantage of their ignorance in their places of worship, they give them instructions which are not biblical and Quranic instructions and they follow.
He called on parents to be careful of the kind of religious leaders that they allow their children to learn from their teachings.
In the same vein, Evangelist Joseph Monday, from the WESCOS Ambassadors of Evangelism, advocate love for others as a leadway to eliminating religious violence in the country.
“We live together in a community and as such, there is need for us to continue to love one another as well as need for us to be patient as we also tolerate one another,” he advised
Meanwhile, the Chairperson, FCT Women Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (WOWICAN), Mrs Felicia Jessa, said that God never made mistake to have created us Christians and Muslims, hence without peace there would be no progress.
Jessa said that since we all originate from one source, there was the need to do away with differences and live together peacefully for a united nation.
” Growing up in those days, I keep my children with my neighbours who were Muslims and I have no cause to fear so also is during Sallah, I celebrate and eat with my Muslim brethren and vice versa.
” Now I wonder where we got it wrong. I am appealing that we should not allow the devil to steal our heart because originally at creation, God created us to live with each other as one and so we must all realise this and go back to our first love,” she said.