A Muslim group, popularly called the Shiites, on Sunday attended a Christmas church service at one of the largest denominations in Zaria, Kaduna State, as a sign of love and efforts to strengthen religious tolerance.
The prayer session was held at the Church of Brethren in Nigeria (Ekkelisiyar ‘Yan Uwa Ta Nigeria (EYN), Samaru, Sabon Gari, Zaria, Kaduna State.
The group also presented a gift to the church to further stem love to boost religious tolerance among the two faiths.
Speaking to journalists after the service, leader of the team, Isah Mshelgaru, said the essence of attending the service was to rejoice with Christians on the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
He added that the visit was to rekindle and cement the existing relationship between the two faiths.
“Islam says if someone is not your brother in faith, he is your brother in humanity and we share this humanity with everybody, either Muslim, Christian or whatever,” he said.
“We decided to attend this church service today because today is Christmas Day, a day that the birth of Jesus Christ is being celebrated over the globe and we feel that we also have our concern to share with them the feelings of the day Jesus was born.
“The coming of Jesus to this world is a blessing to everybody, so we wish that we should come and celebrate this glorious day with them,” he said.
Mr Mshelgaru, a professor, said that as Muslims they considered Christians as their fellow brothers and sisters in humanity, stressing that they are at the church service to join them in celebrating and sharing the joy of this day with them.
“As they (Christians) attach importance to this day so also we attach so much importance to the day and that is why we came today to clear all the unnecessary imaginary boundaries that have been created between Muslims and Christians.
“This is important now that the country is facing multiple security challenges that require all hands to be on deck in order to overcome them,” he noted.
In his message to other Nigerians, Mr Mshelgaru advised Nigerians to come together irrespective of religious, tribal or political divide to save the nation.
Similarly, Tijjani Chindo, the Resident Pastor, EYN Church, Samaru, Zaria, noted that the church received the Muslims with joy and appealed for the replication of the gesture across the country.
Mr Chindo, a reverend, added that the purpose of the coming of Jesus Christ was to salvage humanity (without segregation) from the bondage of sin.
“We are all one, as the Lord has told us to love one another and extend the good tidings of salvation which the Christ has brought to the world.
“He (Christ) has come in a humble way; we are celebrating his coming in a humble way, we are not differentiating ourselves with Muslims. Today we are celebrating the good news that the Lord has come,’’ he said.
Mr Chindo also advised Nigerians to be more prayerful and seek for God’s direction as the 2023 general election approaches.
He added that eligible voters should elect leaders peacefully and elect leaders who have the wherewithal to salvage the nation from the socio-economic challenges bedeviling some parts of Nigeria.
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