Republished with permission from Peace News Network
Written by Mohammed Ibrahim
December 21st, 2018

What would happen if you built a Muslim mosque right next door to a Christian church in a country that is plagued by religious violence?

In Nigeria, where religious violence has intensified over the course of the last year, building two places of worship so close to each other seemed like an impossibility. Residents in the suburb of Kudanden were nervous when construction began on the new mosque, as it was situated next to a Living Faith church. The buildings even shared a fence-line.

But despite clashes between the two religious groups in other parts of the country, worshipers here have been determined to work together.

“The issue of peaceful co-existence, or better still, refer to it as religious co-existence, cannot be over-emphasized,” said Christian resident Isiah Benjamin.

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“So if the mosque is going to be used to worship and serve god, and the church is going to be used to worship and serve god, there’s no big deal about it, it’s a good one, and it therefore shows that we, as human beings, must learn to live as one.”

The harmony in the community was aided by a memorandum of understanding that was established by leaders in the region. The chief of Kudanden, Gabriel Galadima, said leaders from both parties were brought together to recognize a mutual, peaceful, understanding.

“What I want to [show] the youth of this community – not only this community but the state at large [and all those who] wish not to live in peace with one another—is that yes, relations will come and go, but we will still be together.”

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Muslim resident Tajudeen Ajibade said: “What makes a difference to us is how we are going to move this state forward.”

Another resident named Samuel David Galadima added that “This happened because we want to be together. We should be our brother’s keeper, we should live together.”

“We want other people to emulate the habit of people from Kudanden, to learn from them. To live in peace with one another.”

(WATCH the news coverage below) – Photo by Peace News Network

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