UN Interfaith Week: Kaduna Muslim Woman Worships in Church, Donates Bibles to Church Clerics
In a bid to maintain and foster religious harmony, the gesture of a church, which donated hundreds of prayer mats and plastic kettles to some mosques in Kaduna state last 2 weeks has been reciprocated, as a Muslim woman yesterday attended Sunday Church service with Christian worshipers at Christ Evangelical Intercessory Fellowship Ministry, Sabon Tasha, in Kaduna South, Kaduna state of Nigeria, and donate some Bibles written in Hausa language to the church clerics.
The sole aim of the donor, a core Muslim woman, is to strengthen peaceful co-existence and religious tolerance among Muslims and Christians and other non believers across the state.
The Muslim woman, known as Hajiya Ramatu Tijjani, who arrived the church premises at 9:30am in accompany of her little son, Abdullahakim, said the World Interfaith Harmony Week, which is run between 1st and 7th February, has began and, therefore, stressed the need to start the week by donating gifts, sharing love, unity and visiting of each other at places of worship.
“This,” she said, “is encouraging togetherness, irrespective of faiths and organizations, in order to boost mutual understanding and inter-religious dialogue. It is also to spread the culture of peace and harmony, as a way to immensely promote harmony between all people, regardless of their faiths and beliefs.”
According to Ramatu, “the Interfaith Harmony Week celebrates the principles of tolerance and respect for each other that are deeply rooted in the world’s major religions; and that is why the United Nations declared and dedicated first week of this month to promote all activities that encourage and enhance religious activities and tolerance.
“Christians are my brothers and sisters and, as a Muslim, I love visiting them, because both religions preach peace and tolerance; and we have to learn to forgive and forget other mistakes to make our country great and reunite the communities through good teaching of the Holy Books;” adding that, “attending the church service doesn’t make me become a Christian,” she said. Even as she is a Muslim, Ramatu has many Bibles at her home, which she reads very often.
She said, “I attended the church service and gave my own donation like every other Christian just to encourage religious tolerance.”
The impact of the ethno-religious political crisis in the state some years back that claimed hundreds of lives and properties has left so many set-backs and damages to peace settlement in the region, which has immensely witnessed the separation of communities – resulting to Muslims predominantly living in northern part, on one hand, while Christians predominantly live in the southern part of the state.
Hajiya Ramatu said, “both religions preach peace, harmony, forgiveness and tolerance, and we all are from one family – Adam and Eve – and both Muslims and Christians have their books and scriptures that guide them and teaches on how to relate and associate with one another for peace and harmony and for the success of peace settlement across the country;” adding that, “as I went to the market to buy the Bibles, I discovered that the Hausa Bible is highly expensive compared to the English one. I bought and donated to the church to promote religious tolerance.”
She then called on state and federal governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil societies, organizations and Human Rights groups, Traditional Rulers, and Youth organizations to immensely support during the week through the spread of inter-faith harmony and goodwill in the world’s Churches, Mosques, Synagogues, Temples and other places of worship on a voluntary basis and according to their own religious traditions or convictions; adding that, “it is necessary for Nigerian religious clerics to strengthen peace culture and maintain the culture of visiting other clerics at their places of worship, in order to teach their followers ways of tolerating other religious bodies.”
Receiving the Bibles, the General Overseer of the church, Pastor Yohanna Buru, who expressed satisfaction, appealed to all Nigerians to learn how to tolerate, accommodate and live in peace with one another so as to make the country great as it used to be in the past; saying that the church really appreciates Ramatu’s Gift and the kind gesture.
Pastor Buru called on all citizens to shun all forms of ethno-religious and political crisis that are causing great set-backs and damages to the nation, and to embrace peace; adding that, it’s high time for all preachers to redouble their effort in teaching their followers the right ways and also obey the teaching of the holy books so as to end the activities of extremists and terrorist hiding under cover of religion, and to halt the activities of false preachers causing series of problems to peace settlement across the globe.
Pastor Yohanna Buru said this is the first time a Muslim woman is witnessed donating Bibles to the church, adding that the church really welcomes such kindness.
According him, “last year, December 2015, a Muslim woman also donated a Christmas Tree and food items to the church widows to make them happy during the yuletide season.”
Pastor Buru said, “as the Interfaith Week and harmony commences, we are going to organise endurance trekking for both Muslim and Christian Clerics to create awareness to the public, and also organize reading competitions among Muslim and Christian students in schools to enhance tolerance. It’s also geared towards meeting with community and youth leaders in their ghettoes to spread the message of peace, love, tolerance and forgiveness.”