Kaduna (Nigeria) – In solidarity with Christians in the on going 40 days fasting and prayers, a Muslim woman in Kaduna, northern Nigeria, on Sunday visited churches to donate cartons of Tea-break Items to widows and orphans, while calling on them to pray for peace and stability in the country
Ramatu Tijjani, an active peace builder and interfaith promoter among various religious groups in the West African sub region, who made the donation, believes the items would strengthen and support them in their daily fasting and prayers.
She recalled that, last year during the 6 weeks Lenten period, she bailed out 10 Christian youth in Kaduna convict prison, so as to enable them go back home and do their fasting with friends and families just like every other Christian around the world.
According to her, “this is one way of promoting peace building, inter-religious tolerance and better understanding among different faith base organisations in Nigeria.”
Ramatu added that supporting the widows and orphans with beverages and other gifts will give them more strength in devoting their total time in praying to Almighty God for the peace and unity of the country, adding that the purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer for Easter through prayer, penance, mortifying the flesh repentance of sins, alms giving and self-denial.
Gift-giving is one of the good manners that maintains and strengthens relations between the giver and the recipient, therefore, the importance of fasting cannot be over emphasised, she stressed.
She stated that, Muslims round the world cannot forget how Pastor Yohanna Buru always help Muslims “Destitute & the inmates” with food during the 30 Day of the holy month of Ramadan, bailing large number of Muslim youth prisoners out for the sake of Ramadan.
Ramatu also noted that,”we are worshipping One God Allah, and both Muslims and Christians are from one Family (brothers and sisters), and both have their holy Books which are Bible and Qur’an, Both believed in paradise and hell, so therefore, we are all one family under One God”
“Christians are my brothers and sisters and as a Muslim I love visiting them, because both religions preach peace, tolerance and Harmony. Attending the church service doesn’t make me become a Christian. As a Muslim I have several Bibles at home and I read them to enable me know how to relate with my brothers and sisters that are Christians.”
She says, the impact of the previous ethno-religious and political crises in the state that claimed hundreds of lives and properties was a serious setback to peaceful co-existence in Kaduna and northern Nigeria at large, hence the need for clerics from both religions to preach sermons that foster unity and peaceful co-existence.
She further indicates that, she is also going to distribute the same gifts to some Christian inmates in Kaduna, and some parts of Northern Nigeria, so as to enable them devote their total time,in praying for peace and stability of the country
She called for the creation of institutes of comparative studies in the country, saying the institutes would promote better understanding, religious tolerance, forgiveness, reduce blasphemy tendencies and continuously preach peace and harmony between Muslims and Christians.
Additionally, she noted that there were more than 6,000 religions in the world, most of which were different from the literate Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) that many people think of when they hear the word “religion.” “In order to make statements or generalisations about religion, the concept of religion, rather than a specific religion or group of religions, we need to engage in comparative study of religions so as to reduce ethno-religious attacks and blasphemy,” she added.
“We need to change from Theoretical approach of peace to practical peace,we need more conferences on interfaith in Nigeria and Africa
She disclosed that some Nigerian Muslims are in solidarity with Christians on social media Platform by Twitting and posting on Facebooks, Instalgram, YOUTUBE, LinkedIn, Google+, Vimeo, Live-Streaming, Microblogging, Periscope, Blogging on what they will give-up until the completion of the 40days fasting ,as a sign of total solidarity with Christians round the world” which is aimed at boosting mutual respect, love, forgiveness, and encouraging peaceful co-existence in all African countries.
According to the Muslims on social media #NigerianMuslims4Lent, This is just to let Christians knows that Muslims are their best friends and brothers
Receiving the Gift, the General Overseer of Christ Evangelical Intercessory Fellowship Ministry, Pastor Yohanna Buru, thanked Hajiya Tijjani for the gesture and urged other Nigerians to learn to tolerate, accommodate and live in peace with one another irrespective of religious background.
Pastor Buru also called on all citizens to shun issues that could lead to ethno-religious and political crisis.
According to him, the church cannot forget the donation of 50 copies of Bible it received from a group of Muslim women in February 2016 during the international Inter-faith week; saying, this was geared towards promoting religious tolerance.
Buru says, ”the same woman donated dozens of chairs to the church and other utensils which are used for cleaning the church environment with the aim of promoting peace and tolerance among Muslims and Christians”.
“The Muslims are our brothers and neighbors not enemies; we must join hands together to live in peace, and harmony because we all have Holy books (Qur’an and Bible) that teach us love and peace.”
He stressed that it is time, all preachers redouble their efforts in teaching their followers the right ways and obey the teachings of the holy books so as to end the activities of extremists and terrorists hiding under religion.
He noted that every year, hundreds of Muslims join Christians in breaking lent in his house with other Christians and other traditional believers to promote religious tolerance and better understanding.
Also responding another clergy man, Reverend Titus Asiyaku said “It is surprising seeing Muslim woman performing miracle through peace mission,” while calling on every Nigerian to also find means of forgiving one another, in order to live in peace and harmony.