The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund)’s National Research Foundation for the 2020 Grant Cycle is sensitising the students of the University of Abuja, on peaceful coexistence.

The Convener and Co-Principal Investigator, University of Abuja, Prof. Rafatu Abdulhamid at the workshop and launch of Faith for Peace and National Integration in Abuja on Tuesday, said students remained key in enshrining peace in the country.

Abdulhamid said that ignorance among people of different religions was capable of breeding violence if not checked.

She said that many people were ignorant of the beliefs of other parties, and if this was not checked could spur tension leading to violence in the country.

“University of Abuja happens to be one of the universities that is representing the north central zone and this is why we are having the workshop with the students to promote peaceful coexistence among them.

” We want to make the students peace ambassadors wherever they find themselves, whether in Nigeria or any part of the world.

” And then tell them wherever they have other religions like the Muslims or Christians, they should learn to live together harmoniously.

” One of the major problems that causes religious conflict is ignorance, many Muslims do not know about the Christian religion and vice versa, so we want to engage with the students to make them peace ambassadors,” she said.

The don stressed the need to erase some of the misconceptions about some religious beliefs in the society, saying that these misconceptions were actually fuelling violence in the country.

” You will discover that there are lots of misconceptions between these two religions- Islam and Christianity.

“For example, somebody ask me if it was true that in Islamic religion, when you kill a non-Muslim you will be giving six virgins in the heaven. I told her that I have never heard of such in the religion.

” So, you can see that if the orientation of such a person is not changed, he or she could be used as an instrument of spreading wrong belief capable of endangering the lives of others,” she said.

Also, a Professor of Islamic Studies, University of Ibadan, Prof. Ibrahim Uthman highlighted abuse of public space for religious preaching and ignorance on the part of religious practitioners as factors that drove religious conflicts in the country.

Uthman said that failure on the part of government to punish perpetrators and lack of mutual respect for one another had been seen to have resulted in continuous crises, “and such should be checked”.

” We see our religion as supreme religion and this is one of the factors responsible for the crises in our society.

” We should recognise the fact that both religion are from the same source and misinterpretation of religious text could arouse conflicts.

” Therefore, the fact that we are propagating our faith should not push us to dishonesty,” he said.

Uthman charged religious leaders and their followers to always be confined within their boundaries and avoid taking every space as an avenue for crisis. (NAN)

By Editor

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