Islamic Scholars, Bush-hunters Throng Church In Kaduna
There were surprises on Sunday when large numbers of bush-hunters and Islamic scholars thronged a church in Kaduna South to celebrate Easter service with their Christian colleagues for purposes of strengthening inter-religious harmony.
It appears to be the first of its kind towards peace-building and religious tolerance in Nigeria, when a team numbering 10 Muslim Bush-hunters and other Islamic scholars joined their Christian counterparts in southern part of Kaduna in Northern Nigerian city, to worship on the Sunday service.
The team of the Nigerian Association of Bush–Hunters Kaduna Branch, headed by Mallam Nuhu Jumare, and other Islamic scholars from neighboring states, said the reasons of their visit to the church on a Sunday was to strengthen peaceful co-existence between Muslims and Christians, and to support Government in the fight against all forms of insecurity challenges disturbing peace and stability in the entire 19 northern states of Nigeria.
Even though church members were skeptical and panicking first time due to the presence of new faces in their mix during the service earlier on Sunday, they later became happy when the team leader of the group grabbed the mic and explained their reasons for coming, and why they selected the church for the visit on Sunday, with everyone seen dancing and rejoicing with the August visitors.
Mallam Jumare said, “I came here with some of the Hunters’ Union leaders from all the 23 local governments of the state, and some Imams, in order to immensely appreciate the effort of peace-building and the promotion of religious tolerance in which the General Overseer of the church, Buru Yohanna, is doing every day, that is aimed at fostering peace, better understanding among different faith-based organizations in the country.”
Jumare pointed out clearly that, “We chose this church – Christ Evangelical Intercessory Fellowship Ministry – because we observed that in the whole Nigeria, this is the only church where Muslims like to visit and talk about building peace and other issues concerning religious tolerance, because of the good relationship between the leader of the church, Pastor Yohanna Buru, and Muslim communities.”
Jumare added that “Muslim Youth, scholars, and female from long distant places across the 36 states of Nigeria usually enter Christian communities like Sabon Tasha, which is purely 100 % Christian habitants without any fault ear to visit the church, because of good relationship the church has built with Muslims and other non-religious believers in the community.”
Mallam Jumare said, “We must at all cost support government and civil societies organizations (CSOs), and Non-governmental organization (NGOs) with religious bodies’ efforts on the daily bases to fight against the increasing insecurity challenges that is disturbing our forestry, in order to immensely find means of ending all forms of ethno-religious, political crisis, and also to encourage Government in tackling the menace of armed robbery attackers hiding inside bush, cattle rustling, kidnappers, and terror activities.”
Furthermore, Jumare stated that “We visited the church today so as to mix and interact with our Christian brothers, and learnt to be our brothers’ keepers in the fight against bad eggs in our society, and to remind ourselves that we are from one family under God; Adam and Eve were our biological parents, and we both believe in the holy Books – Bible and Qur’an. We must stop stigmatizing and showing differences among each other, irrespective of our religious and cultural difference, in order to make Nigeria great again and again.”
In his own remark, Mallam Gambo Abdullahi, an Islamic scholar in Kaduna, also commented that, “continuous visitation of each other in their holy places of worship would surely encourage better understanding on the real teaching of our holy Books – Bible and Qur’an, and these would make different faith-based organizations learn to tolerate, accommodate forgive one another, spread the message of peace and harmony between Muslims and Christians.”
The cleric added that, “We must join hands with everyone in this country to preach and spread the message of peace everywhere. Again, we must support government in the fight against religious extremists and destroy all terror networks that are causing serious damages to peace and stability in the country.
“I am so happy to find myself in the midst of my brother – the Christians – and I pray that may God Almighty continue to keep us together, so that we can eliminate our enemies that are joining us in fighting each other.”
Mallam Gambo said “We are not happy seeing how Kaduna state is divided into 2 regions; the Southern part of the state is highly dominated by Christian brothers, and equally the Northern region is also dominated by the Muslims and,” according to him, “this is a total setback to all peace-loving nations, seeing how this is disintegrating a great united nation like Nigeria.”
Responding on half of the ministry, Pastor Yohanna Buru, who is the General Overseer of Christ Evangelical Intercessory Fellowship Ministry, Sabon Tasha, Kaduna south said, “This is yet another Good Sunday for us, that we are together with our Muslim brothers for the Sunday service, just like how it happened last two weeks ago, when our brother Muslim Fulanis from the southern part of Kaduna came to join us.”
Pastor Yohanna said, “Your coming to the church to understand Christians and what is all about Christianity would help both the two religious practitioners understand the importance of tolerating one another in peace building.”
He urged the hunters and Islamic scholars to help in spreading the message of peace to all mankind, not just to Muslims and Christians and pagans alone, but also to animals.
“Please, tell farmers and Nomads to live in peace; tell also your bush animals to live in peace, and tell all the dangerous men that are living in our forests to live in peace and harmony with their neighbors so that we can have everlasting peace everywhere in Nigeria,” he said.