We need religious tolerance
Why is it difficult for Christians and Muslims in some parts of North to live together in peace and harmony? Why has it become the norm for some Northern youths to take up arms against their Christian counterparts at every little excuse with no qualms for the grief and hardship they cause others? Why is it that despite the cries by Christian leaders and the media against these incessant attacks, our government appears helpless in holistically addressing this harassment of Christians in the Northern parts of the country? Are some human lives more sacred than others?
Here in the South, the story is different. One hardly hears of inter-religious crisis in any part of the Southern states. They respect each other’s religion and hardly engage in unhealthy debates over issues relating to one’s faith and beliefs. They have leant to live amicably in mutual harmony and respect. Many have even inter-married. Is it because there are non-Muslims living in the South? No. The reality is that Southern Muslims appear to be more tolerant of other people’s religion. This, I believe, is owing to their better social and educational exposure. That is not to say that all Muslims in the North are guilty of religious intolerance. Far from it! Rather, it appears there is a deliberate move by some Northern elites to continually fuel discord amongst adherents of the different religions for parochial interests.
I believe our people should look beyond religion and first see each other as brothers and sisters. We are all humans. There is blood flowing through our veins. We all experience pains and emotions. We all have fathers and mother, brothers and sisters. Why inflict pains on others, while you do not want same to be done to you?
Those that fuel hate-messages amongst their followers by their utterances, actions and inactions should desist from doing so. Those who allow themselves to be used to inflict pains on their fellow humans should know that God’s judgment awaits them. Anyone who tells you that you will be rewarded for killing others is only taking you for a ride. God, Who took time out to create humans, would not be happy watching you destroy the works of His hands. That is unless you worship the devil.
For those who thrive in the sight of blood, change your ways. The day of reckoning is coming. You cannot live forever. What happens when you are gone? My prayer is that God will open our eyes, both Christians and Muslims, to realise that religious friction will take us nowhere. We stand to gain more, when we live in peace and respect each other’s religion.
• Very Rev. Msgr. Osu,
Director, Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos.
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