Abuja -- Religious leaders have called on Christian and Muslim youths to be agents of peace and stability, in spite of the various challenges facing the country.
The call was made by John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, a Muslim Scholar, Imam Faud Ademola Adeyemi and the Chief Imam of Area 11, Mosque, Garki, Abuja, Alhaji Abdulahi Karshi, during a recent Interfaith Youth Seminar, jointly organized by the National Council of Muslim Youth Organizations (NACOMYO) and Catholic Youth Organization (CYON), recently, at the Central Mosque, Abuja.
Speaking on the topic 'Ignorance of the Scripture is Ignorance of God Almighty, from the Christian perspective,' Cardinal Onaiyekan stated: "He who says he knows God must love his neighbour and live in peace with all." He noted that the great value in any religion and human society is to go beyond co-existence and work for cooperation and solidarity.
Cardinal Onaiyekan, while calling on the youths of the two religious bodies to cooperate to ensure peace and stability in the country, remarked: "For all of us in Nigeria who take religion seriously, we must work for religious harmony, peaceful co-existence and solidarity.It is only then that religion will not be a curse but a blessing from God."
Speaking on the same topic from the Muslim perspective, Faud Ademola Adeyemi used several passages in the Holy Quran to buttress the fact that Islam is a religion of peace, love, cooperation and peaceful co-existence of all peoples irrespective of their differences.
Two other speakers, Imam Abdullahi Karshi and Rev. Fr. Andrew Anana spoke on the topic 'No Religion Promotes Evil,' using several passages of the two Holy Books to buttress their points.
Alhaji Karshi, who is the Chief Imam of Area11 Mosque, Garki Abuja, also used the occasion to warn politicians not to interpret the Scriptures to suit their political ambitions as the consequences could be disastrous. He emphasized that anyone who destroyed lives and property in the name of protecting Islam is not a true Muslim
Also speaking at the ceremony, the Minister of Youth and Social Development, Alhaji Inuwa Abdul-Kadir stressed the need for the certification of religion preachers before being allowed to preach in the public, "as some of them misinform the faithful."
While calling on these preachers to acquire the skill necessary to enable them preach to the faithful in the way they will understand what is preached, the Minister urged them to always tell the truth and guide the youths on the right part as "they are vulnerable and could be easily misled."
Stressing the importance of regulations for those who wish to preach the word of God in the country, Alhaji Abul-kadir noted that the government needs the cooperation of both Muslim and Christian clerics in this perspective adding, "There is no society that would survive without regulations; we cannot afford to operate in a lawless society."