We, the 120 participants from different parts of Nigeria and representatives from Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and United States of America, at the conference organized by the New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation (URI member organization in Nigeria) in partnership with The Voice of Angels Foundation (VAF), United Religions Initiative Africa (URI), Interfaith Peace-building Initiative (URI member organization in Ethiopia), Global Educators for All Initiative and the Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group, the 3rd Annual International Conference on Interfaith Dialogue and Non-violence Communication on the theme of “Building Common Future through Interfaith Dialogue, Mutual understanding and the Golden Rule,” which was held in Jos, Nigeria from October 27-29th, 2011:
After reflecting on the urgent need of interfaith dialogue, role of religion to build peace and the teaching of the Golden Rule which says “Treat others the way you want to be treated” which is a common principles of different religions, indigenous cultures and secular philosophy is a fundamental principle that addresses and enhances mutual respect, human right, trust building, harmony and co-existence.
The participants of the conference appreciate the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Dr. Goodluck Jonathan for supporting the African Union Interfaith Dialogue Forum launched in June, 2010 in Abuja, Nigeria. We also thank and appreciate the African Union and the African Religious Leaders Council for taking the Initiative to launch the forum.
We, the participants of the conference, being committed to a personal pledge for peace and non-violence and agreed to work together to bring positive change in our personal lives, family, communities and country came up with the following statements:
Deeply concerned about the religiously motivated violence in most parts of the northern Nigeria which claim the precious lives of many people which also destroyed property, commit ourselves to be part of the process to end the conflict and promote a culture of peace and interfaith dialogue,
We call upon the religions leaders in northern Nigeria to engage actively their followers in the peace and reconciliation process and to work together to heal the wound and stops the cycle of violence and restore the mutual relationship and build trust between the religious divide in the area;
We also call upon all concern bodies including the elders, traditional leaders, the media and women of both faith (Muslims and Christians) to work actively in the process of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace building within the community;
We also appeal to Rev James Wuye and Imam Nurrudeen Ashafa of the Interfaith Mediation Centre in Kaduna, who transformed the religious motivated violence in their community to peace and co-existence, to share their rich experiences on the work of Interfaith co-existence and mediation with their counterparts in the other part of northern Nigeria;
We also call upon religious leaders in northern Nigeria to provide example of common rejection of any form of violence and stand for the defense of values of respect and dignity of human lives;
We also call upon Ministry of Education of Nigeria and the other appropriate authority in Nigeria to include peace education as part of the curriculum at all levels of education system as one practical way of violence prevention;
We call upon the youths in northern Nigeria to be agents of positive change in their communities and to refrain from taking part in any violence action;
We pray for the cycle of violence in northern Nigeria to end immediately and for the wounds to heal, reconciliation to take place, followers of different religions to live together in harmony and a new chapter of coexistence, healing and a culture of peace to prevail in northern Nigeria.
May Peace Prevail in Nigeria, Africa and in the world
May Peace Prevail on Earth.
Signed in Jos, Nigeria on October 29, 2011