A large number of Muslims in Kaduna on Thursday joined Christians at the home of a cleric, Pastor Yohanna Buru, to break the fast on the first day of the Lenten season, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
Pastor Buru is the General Overseer of Christ Evangelical Intercessory and Life Intervention Ministry Sabon-Tasha, Kaduna.
Addressing the gathering, Rilwanu Abdullahi, National Chairman of Beyond the Border of Disability in Nigeria, said their presence was to promote unity and mutual coexistence among all Nigerians.
”The aim of joining our Christian counterparts to break their fast is in a bid to strengthen peaceful coexistence, religious tolerance and better understanding.
”God has already joined us together and therefore it is important to always have the fear of God and put away malicious intentions because it will not take us anywhere,” Mr Abdullahi said.
Also, Gamo Andbdullahi, Barnawa community youth leader in Kaduna, who represented his group, emphasised the importance of forgiveness among the people.
He stressed the need for continuous dialogue to address all issues likely to trigger violence in Kaduna state and Nigeria as a whole.
In his remarks, Pastor Buru lauded the gesture of the Muslims, saying it was a huge step in building interreligious dialogue and understanding in a multi-religious society like Kaduna.
The cleric reiterated the need for religious harmony in the state, in order to foster peace and enhance economic development.
He commended the Muslim groups for honouring the invitation and called on the media to always promote issues that would sustain peace and development across the country.
”We must always remember that interreligious dialogue is gaining momentum and importance at both national and international levels.
”Interreligious dialogue is perhaps more important in Nigeria than anywhere else, simply because Nigeria is the most populous country on the African continent, and it is moreover, a pluralistic and multi-religious society mainly dominated by Islam and Christianity.
“We must learnt to forgive each other on occasions where Christians and Muslims hurt each other, and to live in peace and unity,” Buru admonished.
He added: “For peace and understanding to be achieved, Muslims and Christians have to join hands and be their brothers’ keepers.”
Mr Buru added that the significance of the Lent, including Ash Wednesday, was to remind Christian faithful that from dust they were made and unto dust they shall return, and hence, should fast, pray and forgive.
“We must remember that we are from one family under God, from Adams and Eve, and we both worship one God, believing in Qur’an and Bible.”
Also, Evangelist John Jonathan called on Christians to use the Lenten period to pray for peace and stability in the country.
Jonathan appealed to wealthy individuals to always support the needy in order to build a decent and compassionate society.
An activist, Ramatu Tijjani called on Christians all over the world to use the 40 days Lenten period in praying for peace and stability in NIgeria.
Mrs Tijjani emphasised the need for tolerance between Muslims and Christians to engender peace and stability in the country.
She advocated for the establishment of an Institute of Comparative Studies, where people will study the different religions, to enable them be better informed and deepen their understanding.