An Appeal to End Religious Violence

We, the participants from different parts of Nigeria and representatives from Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and United State of America at the conference organized by the New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation (NEECSF) in partnership with the Voice of Angels Foundation (VAF), United Religions Initiative (URI) and Interfaith Peace -building Initiative (IPI) on the occasion of the 3rd Annual International Conference on Interfaith Dialogue and Non-violence Communication on the theme of “Building Common Future through Interfaith Dialogue, Mutual understanding and the Golden Rule” which was held in Jos, Nigeria from October 27-29th, 2011

After reflecting on the urgent need for interfaith dialogue, role of religion to build peace and the teaching of the Golden Rule “Treat others the way you want to be treated” which is a common principles of different religions, indigenous cultures and secular philosophy is a fundamental principle that addresses and enhances mutual respect, human right, trust building, harmony and co-existence.

The participants of the conference appreciate the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Dr. Goodluck Jonathan for supporting the African Union Interfaith Dialogue Forum launched in June, 2010 in Abuja, Nigeria. We also thank and appreciate the African Union and the African Religious Leaders Council for taking the Initiative to launch the Forum.

We, the participants of the conference, being committed to a personal pledge for peace and non-violence and agreed to work together to bring positive change in our personal lives, family, communities and country came up with the following statements:

Deeply concerned about the religiously motivated violence in most parts of the northern Nigeria which claim the precious lives of many people which also destroyed property, commit ourselves to be part of the process to end the conflict and promote a culture of peace
We express our condolence and compassion for the family of the victims who lost their loved ones and we pray for those who lost their life, and may their soul rest in peace

We call upon the religions leaders in northern Nigeria to engage actively their followers in the peace and reconciliation process and to work together to heal the wound and stops the cycle of violence and restore the mutual relationship and build trust between the religious divide in the area.

We also call upon all concern bodies including the elders, traditional leaders, the media and women of both faith (Islam and Christian) to work actively in the process of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace building within the community.

We also appeal to Rev James Wuye and Imam Nurrudeen Ashafa of the Interfaith Mediation Centre in Kaduna, who transformed the religious motivated violence in their community to a peacefully community, to share their rich experiences on the work of Interfaith co