Isaac And Ishmael, Christians And Muslims, Uche And Shehu: We Are One By Churchill Okonkwo

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This piece goals to current a wise pathway to extra peaceable coexistence between the completely different cultures and religions in Nigeria. I’ll argue on this opinion that by dialogue, we are able to promote peace anchored on justice by valuing what Christians and Muslims and completely different ethnicities have in widespread, while permitting and respecting that which is specific to our respective tradition. The significance of this piece is its invaluable contribution to the nationwide dialogue, given the heightened state of animosity between completely different religions and ethnic teams in Nigeria.

During the last 15 years in Nigeria, there was an enormous query mark over the connection between Christians and Muslims. Even when Christians and Muslims have lived aspect by aspect for many years in an environment of relative peace, many Nigerians are nonetheless questioning the sustainability of the shaky relationship between completely different cultures. That is particularly the case just about the interfaith relationship between Christians and Muslims within the nation.

Once in a while, a dispute or a misunderstanding leads to undesirable destruction of lives and properties. However somewhat than calling for the destruction of the “zoo” which occurs to be our residence, it’s our duty, as co-inhabitants of this “Niger Space”, to discover a method to handle the inevitable battle that comes with multiculturalism. 


Within the political subject, there was an intensified curiosity in growing a radical pragmatic framework on how Christians and Muslims in addition to completely different ethnicities can relate with each other. This curiosity has grown partly due to an upsurge of militant extremism from completely different teams akin to terror group Boko Haram. The senseless killings of each Christians and Muslims alike by this terror group has spiked fears, suspicions, and uncertainties. The actions of some rouge herdsmen which can be terrorizing communities and the misinformation marketing campaign by the Indigenous Individuals of Biafra (IPOB), is including petrol to the burning thatched home, Nigeria.

That’s the reason I’m making an ethical and a political argument on why Christians and Muslims in Nigerian communities ought to develop into concerned in interfaith and inter-ethnic dialogue. That is among the assured methods of selling peace based mostly on justice and fairness, while, respectfully, creating room for each other to coexist.

Here’s what we all know, theologically: a lot entwines Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. We share a typical non secular sensibility that sees legislation and spirituality as inseparable. All three religions have been born within the Center East and are inextricably linked to one another. Whereas Christianity was born from inside the Jewish custom, Islam developed from each Christianity and Judaism. In truth, Islam sees itself because the fruits of the Abrahamic faiths, the ultimate revelation by God within the monotheistic custom.

For instance, as Ibrahim was about to do the deed upon Allah’s command, God changed Ishmael with a sheep, and he was saved. This is identical narrative of Abraham and Isaac within the Bible. Islam acknowledges as prophets most of the figures revered by Jews and Christians, together with Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. What different connection are we searching for?

Due to this fact, I can comfortably say that Isaac and Ishmael, Christians, and Muslims, Uche and Shehu, Buhari and Osinbajo, Ahamefuna and Ahmed, Efosa and Ifeoma, Governor Wike and Atiku, Ade, and Ada: we’re one. So, identical to President Buhari and Pastor Osinbajo, Nigerians ought to construct partitions of solidarity to advertise love, unity, and peace.

I can hear your ideas and I agree with you that altering the way in which we expect, behave, and work together with others just isn’t a straightforward enterprise. However somewhat than the present promotion of bigotry, ethnocentrism, and stereotyping, I problem Nigerians to query their prejudices. I’m difficult Nigerians to be courageous sufficient to mingle with unfamiliar teams and discover new areas. We must always work in brotherhood for nationwide unity. It’s only after we fight polarization and stereotypes that we’ll decrease ethnoreligious conflicts.

For peaceable coexistence, we should always cease being suspicious of individuals of various religion doing commerce or enterprise in our communities. All Nigerians, irrespective of religion or tribe are struggling to outlive within the current robust financial hardship. Suspicion, fueled by pointless fearmongering in social media fosters misunderstanding, hatred, and battle.

Identical to President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo, Uche, Shehu, Segun and the management of the Christian and Muslim communities have an obligation to domesticate the spirit of reconciliation, peacemaking, and dialogue.

Right here is one fundamental fact, per Indian Guru and religious trainer Sathya Sai Baba, in all religions, no matter nation, is one and the identical. The philosophic concepts or the practices and strategies of strategy might fluctuate. However the ultimate goal and aim are just one – preach the cultivation of Common Love, with out regard to caste, creed, nation, or colour.

In these tumultuous instances, whereas some could also be arguing for the breaking of the “temple” or destruction of the “zoo” and others, with irrational worry, are unnecessarily heating the polity with misinformation, I’m demanding that we have to come collectively out of affection. On this attempting time in Nigeria, we should always stand collectively with out demarcation as Christians, Muslims, and different believers. We have to see ourselves as sisters and brothers.

Cultural variety in Nigeria inevitably comes with each blessings and baggage. To excel, we should always cease specializing in the bags by searching for to maximise ethnic rivalry, antagonism, and conflicts between completely different ethnicities. Slightly, we should always alter the lens of our digicam and rejoice our blessings. Merely put, we should always present a unprecedented willingness to embrace each other.

My message to Nigerians is that regardless of the distinctive challenges and tensions inherent in our multiethnic and multi-religious context, there may be hope. This hope can solely be fulfilled if we construct communities of people dedicated to selling our variety. Most significantly, even when we aren’t of the identical non secular religion and ethnicity, we should always respect one another’s faith and perceive that we’re inextricably linked to one another.

Whereas regional ethnic-political champions have strengthened their positions by specializing in the ‘worry aspect’, I urge Nigerians to proceed to show an unusual willingness to embrace. I’m urging the leaders of assorted non secular teams and ethnic nationalities at the moment attempting to widen the divide between us to step out of their consolation zone and interact each other.

Identical to Isaac and Ishmael, Christians, and Muslims, Uche and Shehu, Idahosa and Ibrahim, Ese and Aisha: we’re one and collectively, we are able to construct a robust and affluent Nigeria.

Collectively, we are able to. 

On Twitter @Churchillnnobi

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