By Hussaina Yakubu
Kaduna Sept. The National Chairman of Jama’atul Izalatul Bid’ah wa Iqamatul Sunnah (JIBWIS), Sheikh Abdullahi Bala-Lau, has emphasised the need for peaceful coexistence in the country, to engender progress and development.
Bala-Lau made the call while addressing newsmen after a meeting with Gov. Nasir El-Rufai on Saturday in Kaduna.
He said that the visit was to commiserate with the governor and people of Kaduna state over recent crisis between communities in the state.
The Izala national leader pointed out that the Islamic group would support all efforts by government, organisations and individuals to promote peaceful coexistence not only in Kaduna state but across the country.
He noted that without peace and harmony, practicing one’s religion will be extremely difficult.
Bala-Lau, therefore, admonished religious leaders to intensify preaching to their followers on the importance of peace and respect for other people’s beliefs.
‘’Religious leaders have a great role to play in promoting peaceful coexistence in Nigeria.
“Allah created us as male and female, from Adam and Eve, for us to know each other, not to fight each other. The noblest of you in the sight of Allah is he who fears Allah most. ‘’
He added that religious leaders should not preach any how, but be guided by religious tenets of peace, love, compassion and mutual respect, and also apply wisdom in the course of their preaching.
Also, El-Rufai said that the Izala leaders were briefed by the Commissioner of Internal Security and the state Deputy Governor on the security situation in the state.
“We also solicited for their support and prayers to see the end of this crisis, because we are of the strong view that at the bottom of this crisis is the reckless statements of some religious leaders.
“If religious leaders decide firmly that people should live in peace and preach that consistently, it will lead to peaceful coexistence in our state,’’ the governor said.
“The root of the crisis in southern Kaduna lies in differences in religion and ethnicity. And religious leaders can play a very unifying or divisive role. What we have witnessed in the last few years is that they have been playing a more divisive than a unifying role.
“That is why we welcome the outreach by religious leaders and we presented them with all the facts for them to use the Holy Books to guide how they will preach to the congregation,’’ he added.