The Sultan of Sokoto and President General of Ja’amatu Nasril Islam (JNI), His Eminence Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar stated yesterday that no country survives religious war, hence Christians and Muslims in Nigeria must imbibe the culture of peace and peaceful co-existence.
Speaking at the commissioning of the International Centre for Interfaith, Peace and Harmony (ICIPH) in Kaduna, the sultan stressed that ethnic and religious crises should become a thing of the past in the country.
“No country survives war or war stimulated by religious intolerance,” he said, adding that the practice of religion should be voluntary and not by force.
“We have seen countries where people are killing one another; obviously there can be no peace in such countries. Killing is not part of the teachings of the holy book,” the sultan said.
He called on Christians and Muslims across the world to desist from making comments that anybody is out to Islamise Nigeria.
“Nigeria has a Muslim president and before him was a Christian president. We must see ourselves as one big family, without that, we cannot have peace. It is not possible to islamicize Nigeria. We must respect one another and understand the tenets of the two religions,” he stressed.
Similarly, Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai decried the series of crises that had erupted in the state, lamenting, that the state has been divided along religious lines.
He noted that religion was no longer a matter of life after death but business; adding that those who operate the religious business make money by promoting division.
While he stressed the importance of the centre, he assured of the state government’s commitment towards ensuring that the message of peace and inter-religious harmony was taken to a higher level.
Earlier, the General Secretary of the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN), Rev. Dr. Yusuf Ibrahim Wushishi, noted that by nature, religion plays a vital role in purposeful leadership, community building, social justice, law and order among others.
“Our obligatory responsibility as faith based community in Nigeria is to respect our religious differences. In our diversity as a nation, we are bound to opt for bonds based on our common humanity,” he emphasised.
Wushishi noted that it was in a collective search for a new paradigm to peace that the CCN and JNI hosted the World Council of Churches and the Royal Jordanian Aal Al-Bayt Institute (RABIIT) in May 2012 on a high level interfaith solidarity visit to Nigeria.