In an attempt to foster and sustain religious harmony and peace, the Kaduna Centre for Christian-Muslim Relations, has resolved to sponsor priests and Imams for higher degree programmes.
The Chairman, Kaduna State Peace Commission, Rev. Josiah Idowu-Feron, said in Kaduna at a meeting with Prof. Heidi Hadsel of Hart Ford Seminary, United States that sponsorship would cover second degree level.
”Our centre is an approved centre for education and wants to start running a Master program on chaplaincy mainly for Christian priests and Muslim Imams.
”So that as they teach in secondary schools and universities they should know on how Muslims and Christians relate together,” he said.
He explained that diversity in religion and tribe which is from God should not be used as a tool for division.
According to Idowu-Feron, the centre is a creation of the peace commission in its efforts to deepen peace building and peaceful coexistence in Kaduna state and Northern Nigeria.
He said the centre is saddle with the responsibility of creating culture of understanding between Muslims and Christians and respect for their differences.
”We believe with understanding among us, we can all live peacefully. We are starting a programs at the centre with 20 Muslims and 20 Christians to undergo a certificate program,” he said.
He explained that the regular meeting with stakeholder organized by the commission was to demonstrate the need for various faith based organizations to work together to promote a culture of peace and respect for religious differences.
According to him, education remained the key in bridging misunderstandings and creating a culture of tolerance and respect among adherents of various religions in the state.
”This is because in Kaduna state the main two religions are Christianity and Islam, and we believe that a good number of us either as Muslims or Christians we don’t even understand our religion, talk less of understanding the religion of our neighbour,” he noted.
He stressed that the Kaduna centre for Muslim-Christian relations would strive to make people understand that both Islam and Christianity profess one God as contained in the two Holy Books.
”Although there are differences in the way we worship God, but our differences should not lead to the killing of one another in the name of religion,” Idowu-Ferron stressed.
The Reverend further emphasised on the need to also use the difference to work together while calling on average Nigeria Christian and Muslim to spend time to know his or her religion.
”There are things we can learn from one another and if we put what we learn in the Qur’an and Bible into practice the rest of the county would learn on what it is to be a Muslim or Christian,” he said.
He added that the issue of trust is very important in building peaceful relationship with one another.
”This lack of trust, we need to go beyond that, because God loves us, we should stop doing foolish things so that we can live together in peace and harmony. “
Hadsel told newsmen after the meeting that her mission in Kaduna was to promote understanding, friendship and encourage Muslims and Christians to embrace peace and build harmonious relationship.
She said they were focusing more on how religious peace contributes to community peace.
Hadsel added that they would also educate children across all faiths to live together as humans devoid of myopic sentiments.
According to her, by getting the sense of common vision and common future irrespective of religious belief, Nigeria will have to a common future.
She reiterated on the need for Nigerians use their differences in creating more ways for people to get to know each other by learning to live together, tolerate each other by respecting their differences.