Olawale Ajimotokan

The Search for Common Ground has tasked inter-faith leaders in Nigeria on the need for religious harmony. The Global Director Religious Engagement of Search for Common Ground, Sharon Rosen, made this appeal at a national conference on the protection of holy sites.Rosen also appealed to religious leaders to address the factors influencing youths into attacking places of worship.

Besides, she called on religious leaders to adopt the Universal Code of Conduct in Nigeria and the cross section of proactive strategies employed by different countries on how to prevent attacks on holy sites.

“Following similar deliberations in the North-east, North-west and North-central, religious leaders and other stakeholders met here to deliberate on the applicability of Universal Code against the peculiarities of other religions. By implication, the world is working towards the situation whereby Christians who run to a Mosque or Muslims who run for safety to a Church are guaranteed protection, because a universal code exists to that effect, it means that the military barracks would not be the only sanctuaries or safe heavens in moments of murder in a country such as Nigeria,” she said. With practical examples, Rosen alluded that in Indonesia, books on comics were presented to young people on how to protect sacred places, while in India, cross sectoral cooperation was applied between Muslim and Hindu children about cleaning up of holy sites.

Rosen added that moderate voices can be amplified such as in Bosnia, where Muslim and Christian leaders, stood together in condemnation of a destroyed cemetery. The Search for Common Ground is an international non-profit organisation operating in 36 countries. Its mission is to transfer the way the world deals with conflict away from adversarial approach toward cooperative solution.