Why Ahmadiyya is promoting unity among religionists
LAST week in Warri, Delta State, Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, Nigeria held its 2015 Eastern Region’s third Jalsa Tarbiyah with the theme: Religious Tolerance and Cooperation: A Catalyst for Peace, Unity and Sustainable Development.
Held at the Federal Government College, Ogunu Road, Warri, the three-day conference attracted participation of the representatives of faith-based organisations in the oil-rich city while delegates also came from major cities in the South-south and South-east zones of the country.
But what appeared like the peak of several months of mobilisation and awareness creation undertook by the planning committee for the conference was the courtesy visit, last Friday, December 18, to the newly installed Olu of Warri, His Royal Highness Ikenwoli Godfrey Emiko by the leadership of the Muslim organization.
The paramount ruler commended the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at muslim jama’at for high level of religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence exhibited in relating with other religious groups in the country.
Speaking through one of his chiefs, the paramount ruler expressed happiness that his kingdom has also imbibed these virtues to effectively administer the community.
He explained that despite his religious beliefs, his first son, a prince and his cousins were practicing Muslims.
The paramount ruler in a rare show of love presented cartoons of drinks for the entertainment of delegates at the conference.
Earlier, the Amir of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at , Dr Moshuud Fasola informed the monarch of the activities of the organization tailored essentially towards promoting peace and tolerance in Nigeria and the world.
Dr. Fashola thereafter presented publications of the Jama’at including the Holy Quran with commentary and others as gift items to the King. From the expansive palace with magnificent buildings, the attention shifted to the venue of the Jalsa Tarbiyya, the Federal Government College, Warri where Jumat service was observed and later in the evening, a courtesy visit was paid on the Chief Imam of Warri Central Mosque.
Speaking on the theme of the conference at the formal opening ceremony on Saturday, December 19, National President of Ahmadiyya, Dr. Mash’hud Adenrele Fashola said, “All religions preach righteousness, holiness, charity, mercy and unity of the God of all creation and Lord of the universe. In Christendom, God is Lord ofGrace and Father of all. In Islam, God is referred to as Allah is Gracious, the Merciful, and Lord of all creation. Therefore, worshippers of such a Supreme, Gracious Being, need to have a common goal and mutual understanding, for the promotion of peace, unity, righteousness, justice and sustenance of all creation, if indeed they are all serving Him.”
According to him, “disunity and religious intolerance are a consequence of selfish and devilish pursuits and not Godly desires or borne out of love for God and His creation.”
What is deadly about disunity and religious intolerance, Ahmadiyya head noted, “is that it is exploited by politicians and devilish people who, claim to be leaders of religious or men of God.
“At the end of the day, politicians engage in misrule, corruption, oppression, tyranny and plunder the people into political chaos and economic misery.
Meanwhile, the religious leaders who are being patronized by the politicians and political office holders and are benefitting from the corrupt exploitation of the people and looting of their resources cannot criticize the political office holders and check their excesses. So many countries, especially the less-developed ones, become sentenced to perpetual underdeveloped, poverty, ignorance and disease.”
He canvassed the need for religious bodies to map out strategies for promoting religious tolerance and cooperation with a view to foster peace, unity and socioeconomic uplift of Nigeria and Nigerians.
The realisation of this, he argued, would depend on having “a general document” that defines “the principles of working and coming together for the benefit of all mankind and service of the Gracious Lord and Lord of all creation.”
Also advocated is the inauguration of a yearly conference of all religious organisations “for the purpose of articulating collective views on issues of the state, especially, national unity, justice, good governance, and sustainable development,” reasoned the Amir.
In his goodwill message, President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor canvassed change of the “subject matter from Religious Tolerance to Religious Respect,” arguing that “for as long as the subject remains that of Tolerance and not of Respect for each other’s religious beliefs, the laudable objectives for which this conference is called will remain elusive.”
Represented by Pastors John Ukpeowe and Ochuko Abeke, CAN President said, “for us as a people to achieve peace and unity which will make for sustainable development, we must rise up from this conference united against religious extremism, ins urgency of any sort and terrorism that has bedeviled our world today.”
As chief host and patron of the Eastern Region Jalsa Tarbiyya Planning Committee, Dr. Abdulghaniyy Enahoro attributed the choice of the theme to the realisation “that we have not yet surmounted the needless insurgency battles that are daily being fought by our Nigerian Armed Forces in the North East and the need to decontaminate its attachment to religion. Innocent persons are being killed with recklessness through suicide bombing. We pray that Allah (SWT) will expose the sponsors and promoters of the evil insurgents and remove them from our midst, and put an end to this mayhem soon.”
National President, Initiative for Progressive Judaism Development, Dr. Israel Abido commended the efforts of the Ahmadiyya and prayed “God will give you the might and the tools to accomplish the giga task set for your most dynamic organization.”
The message of solidarity from the leader of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness in Nigeria, Mr. Bibhatsu Das also enriched debate at the conference. In attendance also were representatives of various Muslim groups in the region.
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