Discussants at a forum on peace, tolerance, and co-existence among religions on Tuesday in Abuja underscored the significance of constant dialogue in peace-building and religious co-existence in Nigeria.
The one-day panel discussion was organised by the Embassy of Israel.
Shimon Ben-Shoshan, Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, who cited Bible scripture, Micah 6 verse 8, during his address at the event, urged people to live in peace with one another.
According to him, God has shown mankind what is good and what is required, to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly in life.
Mr Ben-Shoshan said: “This sentence explains why we should have great respect for life and behave in terms of the relationship between men and God.
“This sentence explains why we should have great respect for life and behave properly in terms of the relationship between men and God, and between men.
“I believe that we all have an inner longing for peace, the yearning to improve our well-being and then eagerness to share our capabilities with the rest of the world.
“Therefore, we are gathered today in order to unveil more hidden and unknown information in the Holy Scriptures – the Bible, the Old Testament, and the Quran.”
He said it was wrong for people to think that religious differences brought about war and conflicts.
He decried the practice whereby people were killed during political crises in the name of religion.
He likened such killings to acts of terrorism “forbidden by the Holy Bible and the Quran respectively”.
In their panel discussions, leaders of the three main religions in the world condemned religious conflicts and urged people to always seek proper understanding of the scriptures as doing so would promote peace.
Speaking, the Chief Rabbi of Lagos, Mendy Sternbach, said that although people were created in God’s image, they possessed different habits.
“This is what I believe is the source of conflict in this world.
“God created the world in a way that we should partner with him in facing the world.
“The fact that we are different is not only meant to divide but unite us.
“People have to acknowledge that we are all different and see it as a source of blessing,” Sternbach said.
Bishop Sunday Onuoha, the founder and President of Vision Africa, who also delivered a speech at the event stressed the need for people to engage in discussions about peace and to promote mutual understanding always.
Mr Onuoha said: “It is wrong to burn somebody alive irrespective of the differences in political and religious affiliation.
“People must be protected and government must deploy security operatives to protect lives and property.
“Life is more important than property, but we live in a society these days in which properties are protected and lives are burnt.”
Issa Jabber, a Muslim cleric said that dialogue about peace had become key to ensuring sustainable religious co-existence.
Jabber, a former Mayor of Abu-Ghosh located in Jerusalem, described Islam as “a religion which promotes peace”.
“Islam for some people seems very conservative, but if you go deeply into the Holy Quran, you will understand that what this Holy Book contains is more than just verses.
“What is most important is how we translate the verses and interpret them for the benefit of humankind and not only to mirror our minds to achieve any purpose,” Jabber said.