The visit also included also a meeting with the board members of the International Center for Interfaith Peace and Harmony, established in 2012 by the WCC, local churches and Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan.
The center conducted educational initiatives on peaceful coexistence, facilitated the exchange of information on interfaith matters among religious leaders, and documented the stories of conflict victims. The center has also recruited and trained 500 peace ambassadors, drawn from both Christian and Muslim backgrounds, and has supported 2,000 women affected by ethno-religious conflicts with livelihood equipment, such as sewing and grinding machines.
“Our visits to the Nigerian Central Mosque and to the Sultan of Sokoto Sa'adu Abubakar were the highlight of the interfaith dimension of the visit program on the sidelines of our executive committee meeting,” said Bishop Dr. Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, WCC moderator. “The Sultan is the central religious authority in Nigeria and also enjoys the highest respect among Christians.”
Bedford-Strohm added that the friendly interreligious climate in Nigeria really impressed him. "Precisely because some of the murderous gangs that spread fear and terror not only among Christians but also among Muslims, particularly in the north of the country, refer to Islam, it is so important that the Christian and Muslim authorities condemn this violence so clearly,” he said. “Under the guise of religious rhetoric, political or ethnic struggles are essentially waged here.”
Bedford Strohm also noted how the Sultan works together with the leading Christian clergy for peaceful coexistence with mutual respect for each other's religious beliefs.
“The great hospitality, the warmth with which we were received, and the friendly spirit that was palpable at our meeting gives hope that violence can one day be defeated together,” he said.
WCC general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay said that it was a great joy to meet with the board of International Centre for Interfaith Peace and Harmony. “We appreciated the input from the co-chairs regarding the Kaduna peace project started by the WCC,” he said. “Indeed, in the context of religious conflicts, it is important for religious leaders to work together for peace and harmony. We were greatly blessed by the hospitality of the Sultan.”