CAIRO - Carrying a message of peace, a galaxy of Muslim leaders in Kano attended a Sunday service at different churches in Nigeria to foster religious tolerance and resist inflammatory messages traded between followers of the two Abrahamic faiths, the Nigerian Tribune reported on Monday, January 16.
“We are here to deliver a message of hope, a message of peace, a message of solidarity,” said Bashir Ishaq Bashir, who led a Muslim delegation to visit churches under the platform of Kano Covenant Group.
Led by Bashir, Muslim youths, alongside members of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kano State chapter, visited churches in Kano to assure Christians that no harm would come to them.
CAN members were led by the state chairman of the association, Bishop Ransome Bello.
Among the churches visited by the group were Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, ECWA Hausa Service, Anglican Cathedral Church of Holy Trinity, Cherubim and Seraphim Movement Church and Calvary of Life Assembly.
Addressing the congregation, Bashir said that regardless of differences in practice, Islam and Christianity have similarities whsoe ultimate aim is to draw people nearer together as they love and cherish one another.
He said Muslims all over Kano would remain at peace with the Christians.
Bashir added that worshippers should also resist inflammatory messages that were capable of bringing a breakdown of law and order.
“Muslims are not a source of threat to you, but a source of security. They don’t wish you any harm but peace and well-being.
“Whatever touches you touches them. In them, you have a dependable ally.”
At least 40 people were killed in attacks claimed by the Islamist Boko Haram group on churches on Christmas Day.
The most deadly attack killed at least 27 people in the St Theresa Catholic church in Madalla, a town on the edge of the capital Abuja, and devastated surrounding buildings and cars as faithful poured out of the church after Christmas mass
The bombings prompted Christian leaders to warn of a religious conflict in Africa's most populous country.
Muslim groups from around the world have condemned the attacks, stressing that the attackers don't represent the true Islamic teachings.
Boko Haram, which wants a wider application of Shari`ah, says the attacks were in retaliation to assaults on Muslims.
Bashir urged Nigerian Muslims and Christians to forgive each others, pointing to an urgent need for peaceful co-existence to end years of conflicts.
“We must desist from rumors and spreading of falsehood,” Bashir said.
“No doubt Muslims have wronged their Christian brothers, and Christian brothers have wronged their Muslim brothers.”
Bishop Bello, state chairman of the CAN association, emphasized the need for all the nation’s Muslims and Christians to join hands and ensure that peace reigns in Kano.
He added that violence could only lead to destruction of lives and property.
Nigeria, one of the world's most religiously committed nations, is divided between a Muslim north and a Christian south.
Muslims and Christians, who constitute 55 and 40 percent of Nigeria's 140 million population respectively, have lived in peace for the most part.
But ethnic and religious tensions have bubbled for years, fuelled by decades of resentment between indigenous groups, mostly Christian or animist, who are vying for control of fertile farmlands with migrants and settlers from the Hausa-speaking Muslim north.
The tensions are rooted in decades of resentment between indigenous groups, mostly Christian or animist, who are vying for control of fertile farmlands and for economic and political power with mostly Muslim migrants and settlers from the north.
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