Muslims, Christians should find shelter in churches, mosques

Muslims who run to the churches during a crisis situation should be able to find refuge there while their Christian counterparts should also be able to find shelter in the mosques.

This resolution was reached by religious leaders from Kaduna, Nasarawa, Niger and Plateau sates when they converged in Jos to find a way forward to the religious quagmire that the country finds itself. It was a two-day intensive deliberation.

The states involved noted that similar deliberations took place somewhere else like in the North East and the North West, and felt that it should also be extended to parts of the North Central.

The two-day meeting was organised by the pro-peace international organisation, the Search for Common Ground. A communiqué was issued at the end of their deliberations.

The Publicity Secretary of Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Alhaji Mohammed Sani Mudi read the communiqué to the participants.

The communiqué called for the adaptation and implementation of the Universal Code of Conduct on the Protection of Holy Sites in the country by ensuring that the local needs and peculiarities of the different communities are reflected.

The Code which contains 10 articles on the protection of Holy Sites defined the code as “places of profound significance and holy religious attachment such as Mosques, Churches, Cemeteries, Synagogues, etc, whose special character and integrity are to be preserved and protected against all violence and discrimination.”

It states that in focusing on the issues of definitions, the Universal Code lays out the foundation for cooperative, concrete implementation plan for preventing and ending conflicts in relation to holy places.

According to the communiqué, the code encourages religious leaders, traditional institutions and other inter-faith bodies to consider it as a template for cooperation to confront the need to protect Holy Sites as a socially compelling imperative.

The communiqué reads in part, “In the spirit of the Code, we suggest the adaptation and implementation of the code such that it reflects local needs and peculiarities of different communities.

“Such a process may include but not limited to, education, monitoring, documentation, joint visits and denunciations by religious leaders to attack Holy Sites, among other activities.”

The meeting condemned in strong terms hate ideologies and derogatory speeches, adding that key religious leaders should advocate the inclusion of religious studies as compulsory in school curriculums.

The meeting also called on government and security agencies to respond promptly to on-going banditry in the north.

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