Date posted: August 15, 2012
10 August 2012 / TODAY’S ZAMAN
The Ufuk (Horizon) Dialogue Foundation hosted a Dialogue and Peace Iftar Dinner last week in the Nigerian capital of Abuja. The event was attended by Gombe State Governor Ibrahim Dankwanbo, Nigerian Information Minister Labaran Maku, Finance Minister Yerima Ngama, Abuja’s Roman Catholic Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Anglican Archbishop Nicholas Okoh and senators, deputies and ambassadors from Canada, Ethiopia, Mali, Cameroon, Indonesia and Palestine.
Speaking at the event, Maku said: “Today, the world is different. Science and technology bring people closer. We believe in the same God. We should encourage dialogue, since we are living together.”
“If there are two religions that share the same ancestors, they are Islam and Christianity. … You can find in the Bible everything that you read in the Quran. The two religions share the same morals and values,” Maku said, adding that people cannot live alone and need solidarity. He also thanked the foundation for organizing the event, which brought together many politicians, religious leaders and diplomats.
Also speaking at the dinner, Dankwanbo said suspicion was fuelling insecurity in Nigeria. “There is a lot of misunderstanding, a lot of suspicion not only among religious quarters but also among individuals. The only way we can clear up this misunderstanding is through dialogue.”
In his speech, the president of the Abuja-based Ufuk Dialogue Foundation Oğuzhan Dirican said the foundation had been promoting peace, dialogue, cultural coexistence and mutual understanding for two years since its establishment.
“After the big conference [which was co-organized by the foundation and the Fountain magazine and endorsed by Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen‘s ideas on a culture of coexistence and mutual understanding as among the guiding principles of the Nigerian education system] in November 2011, this is our second contribution to Nigerian society. This contribution will continue with a series of conferences and events in different states in Nigeria,” Dirican said.