Joint statement Christian Muslim delegation to Nigeria
25 May 2012
International Muslim-Christian delegation to Nigeria
22-26 May 2012
We are a delegation of Muslims and Christians from a number of countries around the world, with senior roles in our respective religious communities. We have come on this working visit to Nigeria, under the auspices of the Royal Jordanian Aal Al Bayt Institute and the World Council of Churches, to express to the people of Nigeria, and to their religious and political leadership, the concerns and anxieties of the international community about the current situation in this country.
We also come here to express our solidarity and our prayers for all the people of Nigeria and in particular those who have been the victims of violence in any form. We have been told that we are the first high level international interreligious delegation of Christians and Muslims to visit Nigeria, certainly in recent years. We have valued being accompanied also in our visit by a number of Nigerian Christian and Muslim religious leaders. We hope by our visit to demonstrate an international model of Muslims and Christians working together in interreligious engagement aimed at fostering peace and harmony between people of different religions. We bear witness that we believe that both Christianity and Islam are religions which long for peace, and that in both our faiths love of God and love of our neighbour must belong together.
Before coming to your country, in preparation for our visit, we met with the ambassadors of Nigeria in a number of our own lands. One ambassador, in commending the visit, challenged the group to ‘Seek out the truth and share it.’ This we have sought to do, and will seek to follow up, in spite of the inevitable constraints on our work due to the length of our visit. As well as meeting members of the Muslim and Christian communities here in Abuja, we have visited Kaduna and Jos and met with community representatives in both places.
In hearing the pain of those who have spoken to us we also caught a glimmer of their dreams, and the hopes of many, both religious leaders and ordinary people, that a transformed reality is possible. We express our admiration of all those who spoke to us in a way that made it clear that they did not want their faith to be used as a pretext to propagate violence. We look forward to the day when the Christians and Muslims of Nigeria may offer an example of working together to the international community.
We now need to digest what we have seen, heard and experienced, and we are committed to writing a detailed report of our experiences within the coming month. In this we will make some recommendations as well as specific suggestions relating to our own continued commitment to the welfare of Nigeria and Nigeria’s people.
We have been very grateful for the welcome and hospitality we have received during our visit. We give particular thanks for the preparatory work and support of the Christian Council of Nigeria and the office of the Sultan of Sokoto, without which our work here would not have been possible.
Christian participants (gathered by the WCC)
Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches.
Most Rev. Dr Michael Jackson, Anglican Archbishop of Dublin
Bishop Dr Alex Gehaz Malasusa, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania, Vice-President of the Lutheran World Federation
Rev. Dr Bernice Powell Jackson, WCC President, USA
Bishop Dr Robert Aboagye-Mensah, formerly Bishop President of the Methodist Church of Ghana, Vice-President of the All Africa Conference of Churches
Most Rev. John Onaiyekan, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Co-Chair African Council of Religious Leaders
Mrs Cecile Tshibanda, Catholic Women’s Network, Africa
Staff: Mrs Clare Amos (Programme Executive for Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation, World Council of Churches); Dr Nigussu Legesse (Programme Executive for Africa, World Council of Churches); Revd Dr Filibus Musa (Lutheran World Federation); Revd Yusef Wushishi, General Secretary of the Christian Council of Nigeria.
Muslim participants (gathered by the Royal Jordanian Aal Al-Bayt Institute)
H.R.H Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad
H.E. the Grand Mufti of Bosnia Dr Mustafa Ceric
H.E. Shaykh Habib Ali Jiffri, Director of the Taba Foundation (UAE / Yemen)
H.E. Ambassador of Libya , Professor Dr Aref Nayed
H.E. Shaykh Dr. Hussein Hasan Abakar, Imam of the Muslims, Chad; President, Higher Council for Islamic Affairs, Chad
H.E.Sheikh Ramadhan Shaban Mubaj, the Grand Mufti of Uganda, Co-Chair, African Council of Religious Leaders
H.E. Professor Din Syamsudin, President of Mohammadiah Party, Indonesia
Staff: Mr Lutfi Asfour (Director of the Office of H.R.H. Prince Ghazi); Dr Mustafa Ali (African Council of Religious Leaders).