Cultural and Religious Pluralism: Imam Ashafa spit fire, urges Nigerians to manage diversity positively

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By: Kate Obi/Kaduna

The Co-Executive Director, Interfaith Mediation Centre (IMC), Kaduna State, Imam Muhammad Nurayn Ashafa has  opined that conflict is inevitable and a natural phenomenon part of the world but what makes Nigerians better was the ability to manage the conflict positively.

Imam Ashafa who stated this while delivering his speech during a one day sensitization workshop on Community Media Dialogue on Cultural and Religious Pluralism in Kaduna, North-West, Nigeria on Tuesday, 13th November, 2018 said managing the diversity has become an important phenomenon for all Nigerians, saying because of the difficulty in managing the diverse community become an important factor that the IMC start thinking of how it can do the little they can in trying to make a change.

His word “Today is another milestone on the history of Interfaith Mediation Centre, a milestone on our journey, our journey of life, our journey of building bridges across the divided hearts, on a journey of building bridges across our communities and nations.

“History has made it clear that as human family, conflict is inevitable and a natural phenomenon that is part of our own world but what make us better is our ability to manage conflict positively. Today one of the major conveners of the voices, the aspiration of the people of this country are the media, weather you called it traditional, conventional or social media, a new phenomenon that we have in our heart.

“The second important factor or drivers are our youth and the ability to meet with the youth and those who shape our thoughts and our culture, who shape our pasts, connect with the present, our religious and traditional institutions, they are the custodian of our inheritance. So looking at those nations as a mini global village, the issue of l vs us or l and them or we vs them become an important factor.

“Here is a nation that is small mini world of over 250 ethnic nationalists, 500 languages with over 200 million population or the government will say 198.some million and with the reality of saying by the year 2050, Nigeria will be the second largest population of the global community.

“So managing this diversity that has become a key important phenomenon for all of us as Nigerians and because of the difficulty in managing this diverse community we start thinking of how can we do the little we can in trying to make a change.

“We want to look at the phenomenon, looking at 7 nations across the world, Nigeria, Pakistan, Israel and Palestine, Egypt, Lebanon, Cuba and France. Looking at diversity within these nations, how are they able to manage their diversities, are they able to live together at the same time, create that freedom of action, thoughts, representative without having their ethnicity, status and economic factor as hindrance in their struggle of managing diversity. These are opportunity given to us to experiment on in the last 2-3 years. We are matching towards the end of the project and we feel one of the important link in our experiences is the issue of media and the community in term of managing diversity.

“So we want to build that bridge and we believed you the media are the right people to come and assist and together, based on your objective of educating informing, entertaining the world around us and our own goal of educating, informing, uniting and producing unification tool that we could make the country a better place.

“In the light of this, your coming for this program at this point in time is very useful and we strongly believed that together we can make a difference in our world. At this time when 2019 election is coming and the actors are working hard and preparing his tools to making it in 2019, l must win or no one else.

“So, this important tools at this material time must be used rightly so that our diversity can be a sources of strength not a threat to this nation is what we are looking into and the process is to avert that, not only averting it but making Kaduna State in Northern Nigeria a model across the world that other nations will say, we see Kaduna as a model. The media, the CSOs with the people of faith will work together to create this important template and I believe that the outcome of this important effort. When you move to the field as journalists to interview those we are working with and engage them over the years on this project, they will share their experiences with you and from there we will be able to create a state that will be a model.

“In my conclusion, l want to say that in 2019, we the people in this room must work to create a better state. It does not matter how small our numbers are but because it is only the minority numbers that have ever change the world while the dominant majority opinion has never create the change that move the world towards positive direction” Imam Ashafa Laments.

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