By Ibrahima Yakubu
Its is now clear that Muslim and Christian clerics across the 36 states of Nigeria now uses Iftar season,as a period to promote religious tolerance and better understanding among different faith organizations.
The clerics, who are concerned about the need to end all forms of Ethno-religious, politicians crisis that have hitherto hindered peace and stability in the country, have effectively used this year’s breaking of fast to dialogue.
The Interfaith Iftars is aimed at bringing various communities ,tribes, scholars from different field of studies,together during the 30 days of the holy month of Ramadan in breaking fast at Mosques homes,restaurants or at a conference halls with a view to create platforms for better understanding of the teachings of the Holy books.
For the past 5 years ,In Kaduna,Plateau,Nasarawa,Sokoto and Abuja ,some top Nigerian Christian leaders and other faith organizations have hosted Iftars at various mosque and other holy places , joining Muslims with there followers at Ramadan breaking of fast .
Indeed , this has become a culture among imams and Islamic scholars , who host lots of faith organization at mosques .
This year’s Ramadan season recorded huge success in view of the encouraging participation by various Christian organizations,non governmental organizations in Nigeria and some parts of African countries.
Reports have indicated that some Christians leaders have bailed over 30 Muslim inmates in Kaduna to allow them participate fully in the 30 days of holy month of Ramadan in their home with friends,families and relatives.
A Christian cleric, Pastor Yohanna Buru of Christ Evangelical Intercessory Fellowship Ministry, Kaduna, in a chat said every year, a delegation of Christian leaders from the northern part of Nigeria always visit the Muslim scholars at mosques to attend their Tafsir and then follow them to their houses to break fast with them
Pastor Buru also said, ” We use the Ramadan season to boost inter-religious Harmony and preach the need for peace and unity among Muslims and Christians at their various places of worship .
” We use the period to also feed thousand of inmates, less privileges ,and Internally Displaced Persons, IDps and orphans”.
According to the cleric, one of the regular Muslim scholar that the Christian leaders usually visited to breakfast with him is sheikh Dahiru Bauchi at his residence.
Noting , “This gesture has immensely helped to strengthen unity , create better understanding and lasting peace between Muslim and Christian clerics.”
At one of such visits , Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi expressed satisfaction about the gesture and commended commitment of the Christian clerics , who have taken the pains to build bridges of unity between Christians and Muslims .
The Sultan of Sokoto ,Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, the National President of the Jama’atul Nasrul Islam in Nigeria ,who always invite top Christian clerics in the country to his house for breaking Ramadan fast at his house said, ” The importance of promoting interfaith and harmony in the country cannot be over emphasized in view of the various roles of religious leaders ,traditional and title holders.
The Shiite islamic group in Nigeria under the leadership of the embattled sheikh Ibrahim Yakubu el’zakzaki is another set of Muslim group that the Nigerian top Christian clerics usually visited at the holy month of Ramadan at his resident at Gyallesu in Zaria, Kaduna Sate of Nigeria.
The Shiite leader every year use to organize a breakfast for both Muslims and Christian in the country so as to unite the citizens irrespective of their religious faith,for the purpose of peace and tolerance.
It has also been seen that around the world , Muslim and interfaith organizations are doing similar outreaches to ensure as many non-Muslims as possible spend some time in a mosques, this Ramadan to learn how to tolerate ,accommodate, and be in peace with one another in the community.