26 October 2021

"Walking Together"

A conference on Interreligious Dialogue organized by JPII Leader in Nigeria

Among so many other factors of building a family or a community, friendship is the most effective. A friendship that cuts across the religious and ethnic divides is what people need. Over the years, we have seen how religious and political leaders have tried to show this great example to the world. On the 4th of February 2019, Pope Francis signed a historical document on human fraternity together with the Grand Imam of Al-Alzhar, Sheykh Ahmed Al-Tayyeb. Pope Francis and the Grand Imam believe that friends do not fight. If they develop friendship at the time of peace, they may not pick up arms against each other if a war ever breaks out. What a noble wish and prayer!

The conference “Walking together” aims at building friendships among religious adherents and especially Christians and Muslims in Funtua, Malumfashi, and Bakori areas of Sokoto diocese that are the most volatile parts of the diocese regarding the cases of religious intolerance. The conference also serves as a round table forum for people to air their views about misconceptions, which are in most parts responsible for stirring negative feelings. More than 200 participants attended the conference.

Fr. Richard shares some highlights of the conference:

🗸 A woman representative of the local Muslim chief has taken part in the conference for the first time that is an unprecedented event;

🗸 Muslim and Christian participants have had the opportunity to ask questions about challenging areas in their faith and misgivings that have often been leading to provocations;

🗸 The participants have asked for the follow-up initiatives to flourish and deepen the friendship they had started.

This initiative was funded through the JPII Leader grant. We congratulate Fr. Richard Gokum on the excellent results of this important and valuable project advancing understanding and dialogue in his diocese.