In 1844, the Revd Samuel Ajayi Crowther returned residence to Yoruba land (now a part of modern-day Nigeria). Twenty years earlier, he had been kidnapped and bought to European slave merchants who had been sure for the Americas. He was freed by an abolitionist naval patrol, and acquired by the Church Missionary Society. There, he discovered his calling.
Crowther made his voyage residence to determine the primary Anglican mission in Yoruba land. He got here with the primary Bibles translated into Yoruba and Hausa languages. He opened dialogue and dialogue with these of different faiths. And his mission was a hit: Crowther later grew to become the primary African Anglican bishop in Africa.
At present, Nigeria has the biggest Christian inhabitants on the continent. The messages and teachings of Christianity are a part of the material of every individual’s life.
Together with the tens of millions of Christians in Nigeria at the moment, I imagine in peace, tolerance, and reconciliation; within the establishment of the household, the sanctity of marriage, and the honour of constancy; in hope, compassion, and divine revelation.
Like Bishop Crowther, I’m a descendant of Abraham; in contrast to him, I’m a Muslim. I imagine our two nice religions can’t solely peacefully coexist but additionally flourish collectively. However Muslims and Christians should first flip to 1 one other in compassion. For, because it says in Amos 3.3: “Do two stroll collectively, except they’ve agreed to fulfill?”
As they’re Individuals of the E-book, I imagine that there’s much more that unites Muslims and Christians than divides them. The truth is, I imagine that the messages of the Bible are common: out there for anybody to train, and instructive to all.
We should resist the temptation to retreat into our communities, as a result of, if we do, we will solely look inwards. It’s only once we combine that we will attain new and larger prospects.
Whichever faith or spiritual denomination they select to comply with, Nigerians are religious. Something that Nigerians imagine will place impositions on their observe, and perception is due to this fact positive to trigger widespread alarm.
And, sadly, there are those that search to divide Nigerians — and our two nice religions — and to take action for their very own benefit.
I stand accused — paradoxically — of attempting to Islamise Nigeria whereas additionally being accused by Boko Haram terrorists of being towards Islam. My Vice-President is a religious man, a Christian pastor. He, too, is accused of promoting out his faith, due to his help for me.
This isn’t the primary time that I — nor, certainly, my Christian-Muslim evenly break up cupboard — have been the topic of such nonsense. Happily, the info converse in another way from the phrases of those that search to divide us from each other.
Since my administration has been in energy, Boko Haram has been considerably and fatally degraded; I’ve befriended church leaders and church teams each inside and outdoors our nation; my Vice-President has addressed and opened dialogue with Muslims up and down our land.
In all issues, we search that which all well-meaning Christians and well-meaning Muslims should search: to unite, respect, and by no means to divide. Does it not say “There is no such thing as a compulsion in faith” (Qur’an 2.256)? Does it not say “Forbid him not: for he that isn’t towards us is for us” (Luke 9.50)? This, certainly, is the trail that followers of each our two nice religions should stroll.
UNFORTUNATELY, those that want us all to stroll aside have not too long ago discovered one other focus for his or her efforts: the tragic clashes between nomadic herdsmen and settled farmers within the central areas of Nigeria.
For generations, herders have pushed their cattle from the north to the centre of our nation; they are usually predominantly Muslim, though not solely. The farmers, in sure areas of central Nigeria, are predominantly Christian.
The causes of this battle are usually not spiritual or theological, however temporal. On the coronary heart of this discord is entry to rural land, exacerbated each by local weather change and inhabitants progress.
Sadly, there are some who search to play quick and unfastened and so make others imagine that these are usually not the info. When faith is claimed because the trigger — and by those that know that it’s not — it solely makes discovering a decision harder.
The federal government has taken motion to mediate, to convey the 2 teams collectively in peace and unity. However we additionally want all events to comply with the teachings of the scriptures, and encourage reconciliation fairly than trigger division. As it’s stated: “Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear?” (Mark 8.18).
As our structure codifies, politicising faith has no place in Nigeria; for it makes us flip away from each other; it makes us retreat into our communities and stroll completely different paths.
I imagine that there’s a higher manner. To those that search to divide, I nonetheless maintain my hand out in brotherhood and forgiveness. I ask solely that they cease, and as a substitute encourage us to show in the direction of each other in love and compassion. Nigeria belongs to all of us. That is what I imagine.