SHAFAQNA – Christians and Muslims in Nigeria have opened a historic interfaith peace center in Kaduna state, where more than 20,000 have been killed in religious conflicts in the last 30 years.
On Aug. 19, Nigerian Christians and Muslims gathered together for the opening of the International Center for Interfaith Peace and Harmony (ICIPH) in Kaduna. The center, which is only one of the interfaith initiatives being launched in the country, aims to document interfaith relations for policy-making purposes, Ekklesia details.
Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, the World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary, issued a statement acknowledging the existence of religious conflicts in Kaduna. He then declared that the state will bear witness to interfaith peace.
“But now Kaduna will be a city known for its witness to inter-religious peace and harmony. This place can be a holy place in a new way, bringing a new vision and anew reality of people of faith living together,” said Tveit. “The presence of you, the religious leaders of Nigeria, shows the significance of this day and this event for the whole nation.”
In addition, Tveit explained that the peace center will serve as an outlet for those who want to tell the stories of violence and other atrocities in their place. They are hoping that this initiative will become a deterrent for the perpetrators of injustices and will help form future solutions to the existing problems.
Meanwhile, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has been accused of failing to address the problem that the insurgent group Boko Haram has brought to the country. Western aid officials estimate that there are around 50,000 children starving or dying and about 50,000 people displaced because of the group’s atrocities, Gatestone Institute reports.
Based on information provided by geopolitical analyst group Stratfor, Nigerians are growing increasingly frustrated with Buhari’s alleged favoritism toward his Muslim allies. Instead of focusing on the campaign against Boko Haram, the president has reportedly launched intimidation efforts against his Christian and Muslim opponents.