Muslims and Christians find Peace through One Family under God Campaign
The One Family Under God campaign in Nigeria is starting to gain the attention of local governments and rulers as an effective formula for creating peaceful, ethical societies. The campaign, now in its third year, engages religious and spiritual leaders and civil society partners to take the lead in building interfaith relationships and partnerships based on universal principles and shared values to counter violent extremism and foster community level social cohesion.
For the past decade, Nigeria has experienced conflict between its Muslim and Christian communities resulting in election-related violence and extremist groups such as Boko Haram. The instability has curtailed peace and development. A prime example can be found in Dutsen-Wai, located in the northern part of Kaduna state in central Nigeria.
The One Family Under God campaign, spearheaded by Global Peace Foundation Nigeria, calls on religious leaders to emphasize shared values rather than differences as a common ground to forge cooperation and understanding.
Heading up the initiative are the “Twins of Kaduna,” Rev. Hayab and Sheik Maraya, who work together to conduct the local trainings. They are a living example of what a vision that encompasses the aspirations of all faiths can do. As they visit communities throughout the Kaduna state together, hosting workshops and events that stress the common spiritual and national heritage of Nigerians as One Family under God, other faith and community leaders are inspired to become examples in their respective community and put their shared values into practice through joint peacemaking projects and social action.
The outcomes are gradual but visible. Half a year after the training programs, residents reflect on the impact of the program: neighbors are less apprehensive of each other, multi-religious schools have reopened, co-workers from Muslim and Christian backgrounds are starting to travel to work together and former residents are being encouraged to resettle in Kaduna.
Recently, communities that have experienced an outbreak of violence approached GPF to conduct training programs as a means to curb the tension among religious communities.
This is but a small indication of the potential of interfaith leadership when they work together based on a shared vision to better their communities and world.
Receive updates on the One Family under God Campaign by visiting the Global Peace Foundation website at globalpeace.org.