View Full Version : A pastor and an imam 'programmed to hate one another' bridge a religious divide

12-11-2015, 01:37 PM
Two decades ago, they were foes who led rival militias. Their followers battled in Kaduna, a Nigerian city quivering on a fault line between Christianity and Islam. Today the two men are allies. And they're offering Americans strategies to combat religious prejudice and hate.

"Over the years, we were programmed to hate one another by our so-called religious leaders and politicians who have told us that the other is our enemy," says Pastor James Movel Wuye. "A journalist ... brought us together and said 'Pastor, imam, talk.'"

That was in 1995. Now Wuye jointly directs Kaduna's Interfaith Mediation Centre with Imam Muhammad Nurayn Ashafa. And Ashafa has a message for his US counterparts.

"First and foremost, I feel this is a time for American Muslims to wake up and explain what Islam really is," he says. "It's time for religion leaders around the world to raise up their voices and say 'No! That is not us and that cannot be us!"


12-12-2015, 11:15 PM

I discovered whilst a CT police officer that in Birmingham, UK that there was considerable inter-denominational contact, both formally and informally between all the religious groups. At times of crisis, invariably when responding to national media reporting, they quietly supported each other and sometimes stood alongside each other - which would be locally reported.

In some religious places the contact was between the congregations too, notably a "high church" Anglican church and local mosques. No one seemed to object to the Anglican vicar clearly stating his support for the local Royal navy Reserve Centre, as part of his "flock".

I was surprised that the local mosques spoke regularly to the two synagogues, although one was better than the other. It probably helped that the city's only Jewish faith infant school was very popular with Muslim families, without any objection to the ethos and practices.

In another city when mosques were being attacked or under threat a Jewish community group offered security training courses.