The Charge d’Affairs of the Embassy of the State of Israel in Nigeria Yotam Kreiman in his opening remark during an interfaith dialogue organised by the Israeli Embassy in Abuja on Thursday emphasised the need for the different religions in the country to relentlessly push for a fruitful interfaith dialogue as to promote tolerance, love and peaceful coexistence among various religions in Nigeria.
The interfaith symposium which centered on peace, tolerance and coexistence, in accordance with the Holy Scriptures of Christianity, Judaism and Islam had Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of the Catholic archdiocese ABUJA, Rabi Uzan, the chief Rabbi chabad Nigeria and Muhammad Kabir Adam, the chief Imam of the national mosque Abuja as discussants.
Speaking on the essence of the interfaith dialogue symposium, the Charge d’Affairs of the Embassy of the State of Israel in Nigeria Yotam Kreiman said dialogue is key to promoting peace among nations and religions. He stressed that “Israel is not only home to the three Abrahamic religions; it is also the place in which the stories from the scriptures originated and the need for the country to continuously promote activities that welcome peaceful coexistence among different countries of the world and especially among different religions.
He said “Be it Jerusalem of King David and King Solomon, Nazareth and Bethlehem of Jesus Christ and Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is tied to the story of the Prophet ‘SAWS’ and the Buraq.
“We are here today to highlight the great role interfaith dialogue has to play in promoting reconciliation and development amongst people of all faiths.
“Interfaith refers to the common ground that is shared by all religions; a concept that upholds mutual tolerance, respect and love.
“Ours is a society where people follow many religions, faith, norms, values and traditions which shape our perception and emotions.
According to Yotam, interfaith dialogue would not only help to tackle issues about religious conflict, but promote shared values in society.
On his part, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, the Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, called on Nigerians to embrace peace, irrespective of their ethnic or religious believes.
He said “We are being called daily not only to learn about peace in theory, but to practice it concretely in life.
“Religion is not just about doctrines and speculations, but implementing your values about love and peace,” Kaigama said.
Also Rabbi Israel Uzan, Chief Rabbi of the Jewish community in Nigeria, said there was need to sensitise people of the importance of peace to promote mutual coexistence.
“We have different religions and denominations; sometimes we do not agree on living together, but when we understand that we are the same, a lot can be achieved together,” Uzan said.
In the same vein, Dr. Muhammad Kabir, the chief Imam of Abuja National Mosque, described Islam as a religion centered on promoting peaceful coexistence.
“It is part of Islamic belief to respect your neigbour and you cannot tell who is going to be your neigbour.
“Anybody can be your neigbour,” Kabir said.
In ensuring love, tolerance and promoting peaceful co-existence among different religions in Nigeria, the discussants unanimously called for intentional quality education for the younger generation and anyone interested in learning.
The religious leaders also advocated for thorough sensitisation of all on the need to maintain peaceful co-existence.
The one day interfaith dialogue on tolerance, love and peaceful co-existence among different religions in Nigeria had in attendance leaders from various religions as well as the diplomatic community.