Monday, 28th November 2022
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Ndukuba, others, seek religious tolerance at summit

Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba was among the religious leaders that addressed the maiden Religion Forum of the Group of 20 (G-20) leading economies of the world held recently in Bali, Indonesia.

[FILES] Ndukuba

Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba was among the religious leaders that addressed the maiden Religion Forum of the Group of 20 (G-20) leading economies of the world held recently in Bali, Indonesia.

The event, also known as R20 Summit aimed at preventing the weaponisation of identity and curtailing the spread of communal hatred and mobilising global leaders to help ensure that religion is used as a solution rather than as a problem to global challenges.

Participants addressed how to forestall conflict-induced suffering and infuse moral and spiritual values in economic and geopolitical structures.

Addressing the summit, the Primate recalled several attacks by insurgent groups such as Boko Haram, the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP), Al Qaeda and the radical militants of Fulani herdsmen.

Ndukuba who noted that Nigeria has become one of the “most dangerous places on earth to be a Christian,” urged the G-20 to intervene and stop such outrages as well as propagate the Indonesian model of pluralism and religious tolerance, which now is on the world stage.

The Primate said Nigerians and Africans take faith seriously, adding that Nigeria has the challenge of religious extremism as a religious community. He stressed the need for peaceful coexistence and consideration of religious and cultural diversity as a source of strength, rather than a threat.

Speaking at the summit, HE Shaykh, Dr. Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Alam, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, urged the R20 participants to help reform religious discourse, which he said, “had been polluted by extremists,” adding that religious discrimination has to be eliminated and replaced by a culture of acceptance of the “other and their beliefs.”

According to the Under Secretary General of, Muslim World League, Wahab Alshehri, “people criticise religion and don’t see religious leaders as part of the solution, sometimes they see them as troublemakers. We agree there are some people who don’t represent their religion in a good way. But what we are trying to do with the conference is to show that there are religious leaders who are moderates and can be part of the solution.”

The presence of right-wing Hindu leaders from India, as well as religious heads from other faiths gave the conversation a much wider outreach.

Bhavya Sri, Founder, of Religious World and member, International Association of Religious Journalists, said: “Religious diplomacy is shaping up. We have seen the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Kazakhstan holding mega interfaith events initiated by their ruling establishments. The R20 has created a new chapter for dialogue with the organisers and also showcases the moderate face of Islam as well as how inter-religious values can be used to tackle global challenges.”

The R20 Summit provided a common platform for spiritual leaders of all faith to use their influence and following for humanitarian purposes.