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Interfaith Harmony Week 2022: Clerics organize reading, writing competition among students

…Over 10,000 students sensitized in a week.

by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna

As part of activities to mark the 2022 United Nations-Interfaith Harmony Week, a team of Nigerian religious leaders and volunteer peace NGOs have commenced sensitization of thousands of students, street youths, market union, women organizations and persons with disability on promoting peace, tolerance, forgiveness and prayers throughout the week of the harmony.

United Nations-Interfaith Harmony Week is marked by a team of Nigerian religious leaders and volunteer peace NGOs and concerned citizens in the country.

Pastor Yohanna Buru, who led a team of volunteer Imams and Pastors to College of Health Science Kaduna to mark the occasion, explained that their visit was aimed at conducting reading competition, which will encourage the students in re-dedicating more time to studying their holy books, as well as to enable them have the fear of God.

The volunteers are to as well sensitize the students on the need for peaceful co-existence, tolerance and harmony amongst people, regardless of their religious inclinations, culture and tradition.

According to Buru, the team of the religious clerics took the campaign to some schools and communities and ghettos, in order to dialogue, interact and inter-face with many students, women and youths to educate them about the importance of interfaith week and harmony.

According to them, campaign would also go a long way to help towards reducing the ethno-religious, political, banditry, extremism, kidnapping activities affecting peace stability, education, economy, health and tourism in the northern part of the country.

He said, “We decided to extend our visitation to schools and meet with  some youths’ leaders residing in communities, so as to spread the message of peace, tolerance and the importance of forgiveness among everyone at the community, as well as award winners of the competition. Empowering them with religious studies will make them shun the bad attitudes and other social vices.

“Apart from organizing this competition, we are also visiting other scholars of different faith to strengthen relationship between them, so as to teach the followers the essence of living in peace with one another,” Pastor Buru stressed.

He emphasized that, “The interfaith week provides a golden opportunity for Christians and Muslims with other religious and traditional leaders to meet, interact, and deliberate on issues related to religious tolerance, better understanding, peace building and new ways of empowering communities and groups with different skills to resist activities related to violent extremism, gangsterism, cultism and other unlawful acts that affect peace stability in the country.

They equally organized reading and writing competition during the visit to some of the school students, so as to encourage students of studies of religious books with the aim of strengthening Christian-Muslims relationship, based on the teachings of the Holy Books, on ways to live with one another and to poster peace and unity with all humans, irrespective of tribe, religion, ethnicity, region or color.

Also, in a bid to encourage genuine reconciliation and devise a means of addressing all forms of ethno-religious-political crises bordering peace and stability in the country, Pastor Buru said that, they are organizing what he called “endurance trek and football match competitions” among different communities so as to bridge the existing gap between Muslim and Christian communities within the State.

The cleric said, they are going to use radio, television, newspapers and social media to mobilize more Christian-Muslim scholars to use the week by United Nations with the aim of enlightening different faith-based organizations on the need to sustain peace, love, unity and forgiveness.

“Our target is to communicate with 50,000 Muslims, 50,000 Christians through the media to use the week in spreading the message of peace, love, and forgiveness,” he stressed.

Responding, the school director, Mr. Nurudden Bello, said, “The importance of peace in our society cannot be overemphasized; hence the need to support the State and Federal Government towards providing enabling environment for the education of students. Peace and education play an important part in changing lives of students.”

He appreciated the visitors, while calling on other peace NGOs and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to equally join the campaign towards sensitizing millions of youths and women on ways to end vengeance attacks and insecurity.

United Nations World International Interfaith Week and Harmony usually starts from first week of February every year (1st-7th), and the essence is to promote harmony between all people, regardless of their faith, tribe, culture, ethnicity, race, color, height, region or continent.

The World Interfaith Harmony Week is a UN resolution for a worldwide week of interfaith harmony, proposed in 2010, by King Abdullah II and Prince Ghazi bin-Muhammad of Jordan.

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