Global Peace Foundation Nigeria has been hosting a series of peacebuilding workshops in Kaduna State to promote community cohesion with the support of traditional rulers and government and religious leaders. The One Family under God Campaign workshops, as they are referred to, focus on changing attitudes and behaviors of individuals and groups by highlighting principles and values that are shared across differing religious traditions.
“The Qur’an tells man that God create mankind into different tribes and nations so that they may know each other,” reflected a recent Muslim graduate. A Christian counterpart wrote, “The stereotype I carried about Muslim men and women was that they are wicked…This belief changed after I joined the campaign. I began to see fellow Muslims as members of the same family with me, without any suspicion.”
Nestled in the heart of Nigeria, Kaduna State presents a demographic cross-section of the West African nation, almost evenly split between Muslim and Christian. The religious communities have stood segregated for the most part, often fueling stereotypes and suspicion.
Workshop participants are nominated by local leaders to represent their religious communities and in turn are asked to facilitate similar dialogue after they complete their training course. Thus far the workshops have reached six communities in Kaduna and are set to expand to six new zones in the state.
Global Peace Foundation Nigeria Country Director John Oko issued a statement at the commencement of Ramadan congratulating observers of the holy Muslim rite. Oko encouraged Muslims to celebrate not only through fasting, but also by seeking God’s intervention through prayer and demonstrating kindness and charity.