…“Coming to celebrate birth of Jesus Christ in Church makes me happy” – Sheikh Rufai.
by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
As the world celebrates Christmas Day, which marked the birth of Jesus Christ, over five hundred Muslims from across seven northern States of Nigeria and FCT Abuja, joined their Christian counterparts in the celebration at Kaduna church with the aims of promoting peace, love and religion tolerance.
Speaking during the Church Service, the General Overseer of Christ Evangelical and Life Intervention Ministry, Sabon Tasha Kaduna South, Pastor Yohanna Buru, expressed satisfaction over the large turnout of Muslim Imams and youths from seven northern states of Nigeria to attend the 2021 Christmas Services.
He said, despite security challenges bedeviling peace stability in the 19 northern states of Nigeria, and outbreak of Omicron variant of Covid-19, as well as high cost of transportation, hundreds of Muslims, including women and children, attended this year’s Christmas morning services with the aims of strengthening good relationship, better understanding, love and religious tolerance.
According to Pastor Buru, this year’s 2021 make the 10th number of years the church has been hosting Muslims from various states for Christmas celebrations.
Pastor Buru also stated that, last year, the number of Muslims that attended the Church Services outnumbered the Christians, and this year also many Muslims attended the Church Services.
“Over five hundred Muslims from Kaduna, Kano, Zamfara, Katsina, Niger States and FCT joined us at today’s Christmas Service to promote peace and unity; we have counted them one-by-one and got 525 Muslims that attended today’s sermon,” Buru revealed.
The cleric said, all the Muslims that attended the Christmas Service are from all Islamic sects, which include Tijjaniya, Shiiat, Kadriyya and Sunni.
He said “We must remember that we are created by one God, and we are the children of Adam and Eve, and we both have our holy scriptures (Bible and Qur’an) from one God, which guides us on how to live in peace and harmony with each other,” he said.
Pastor Buru, nevertheless, expressed worry over increased insecurity, bloodshed, banditry, kidnapping, attacks and ethno-religious killing across the north, which has affected the region in terms of education, agriculture, economy, and all sectors of human development.
He added that the outbreak of ethno-religious crises in some parts of the northern region has caused serious setback to peace stability and other sectors of development, and hence the need for both Muslims and Christians to live in peace and harmony to make the region better again.
While he prayed to Almighty God to bring an end to the continuous killing of innocent citizens along high ways and in villages, he appreciated the effort of states and federal government for the deployment of security in some trouble zones and areas.
The Man of God prayed for Nigerian Military, Police, and other Volunteer para-military towards success in all their peace mission operation across the world.
Buru said, the church cannot forget the contribution of a Muslim woman, Hajiya Ramatu Tijjani, for her massive, spontaneous support to the widows and orphans.
Responding, one of the Muslim scholars, Sheikh Ahmed Rufai, said this is not their first time of coming to celebrate Christmas with his friends in the church.
He said, every Muslim world wide respects Jesus Christ, and coming to the church to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ makes him happy, adding that during the birth of Prophet Mohammed (SAW), Pastor Buru usually comes to their mosques and celebrate the birth of the prophet with them.
He thanked the church for the free meal and other donations, which the pastor shared to all the Muslims that attended the church services.
He noted that, coming to church and celebrating Christmas doesn’t make him a Christian, but to strengthen Christians and Muslims’ relationship for peace and unity among different faith-based organizations.
Similarly, the District Head of Kurmin Mashi Kaduna, Alhaji Rabo Abdullahi, said he was happy to see the number of Muslim youths and Imams that attended the Christmas Service, adding that, “It is importance for Muslims and Christians to always live together in peace and harmony.”
Another Muslim woman, Hajiya Sumayya Gali, said they attended the church services because Pastor Buru usually brings some of his church members to celebrate Maulud with them. While calling on both Muslims and Christians to pray for peace and unity of the nation, she also prayed to Almighty God to bring an end to the spread of Covid-19.