The Golden Rule says: “Treat others the way you want to be treated," summarizing the basic teaching of compassion, non-violence, respect; and honoring the dignity of all living beings, social justice, equal rights, and peaceful co-existence. It is the best guide we have to help peoples of the world live together in mutual respect and harmony. It is a preventive mechanism to discrimination, violence, crime, war and the violation of human rights.
THE ACTIVITIES CONDUCTED:
Early Saturday morning, 5th of April, 2014, 33 selected participants which comprises of leading and outspoken Christian reverend fathers and Pastors, Islam chief Imams and their deputies, traditional leaders, youth leaders and a women leader from the seven tribes in the tensed Tafawa Balewa local government area gathered in the palace of the district head of Lere to join FACIS and URI African office in commemorating the 2014 Golden Rule Day. In attendance were the district head of Lere, and the Executive Chairman of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area.
Invitations were sent to the participants clearly starting why the meeting was organized and why the local government area (LGA) was selected to be the venue of the 2014 Golden Rule Day commemoration.
The event started with opening prayers from the leaders of the two religions in the area (Christianity and Islam) which was followed by self-introduction and ice-breakers that helped the attendees relaxed and motivated. The welcome address was given by the district head of Lere town where he expressed his happiness and thanked FACIS/URI Africa for choosing the district as the venue for the golden rule day commemoration and urged the representatives of the two religions to proactively participate and share their views that will reshape their followers thinking for better relationships and peaceful co-existence in the district. Program of event attached in the annex.
The district head of Lere Town given a welcome address
Overview/purpose of the golden rule day was given to the fullest understanding of the participants. It was the very first time the participants learned about the 13 major religions in the world apart from Islam and Christianity. All the participants were surprised to learn that the 13 religions all have something in common i.e “the golden rule”.
Overview of the golden rule presented by Usman Inuwa
Perspective square session was used such that the participants would yunderstand and appreciate the different angles from which each person as an individual is looking at his or her world.
Perspective square session presented by the Executive Director of FACIS (Usman Inuwa)
Participants share their stories and experiences about life, relationships, happy and sad events and situations they once get through in their lives. They were able to narrate heart touching stories to the extent that some of them recalled the good olden days when their grandparents lived a good life with their neighbors and treated each other as equal.
Participants sharing their personal stories & crisis experiences
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Chairman, Lere sharing Chief Imam of Lere sharing his heart touching story
his personal heart touching story
Copies of the DVDs “Dialogue in Nigeria, 2010” were also distributed to the participants.
Another fascinating session that captured attention was the embracing of the golden rule by the participants where every participant affirm his/her commitment to stand by the golden rule and promise to be their brothers keepers.
Participants ready to paste the pins Reverend Father (CAN Chairman Lere) & Chief
Imam pasting the pins on one another
Christian & Muslim participants embracing the golden rule by pasting pins on one another (Muslims pasted on Christians and viceversa)
Left to right CAN Chairman, Chief Imam of Lere Central Mosque & deputy Chairman of Tafawa Balewa LGA
Youth leaders from both religions vowed to work together to spread the “Golden rule” in Tafwa Balewa LGA
Chairman of Tafawa Belewa Local Government Area (Dr. Iliya Aliyu Gital) being pasted with a URI pin as becomes a “Golden Rule Ambassador” in Bauchi State by Executive Director FACIS/National program officer, Golden Nigeria Chapter (Usman Mohd Inuwa)
Chairman of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area & the Exe. Dir FACIS pasting the URI pin on the district head of Lere Town as he became the a Golden Rule Ambassador
Executive Chairman of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area (Dr Iliyasu Aliyu Gital) delivered his speech by going through the 13 world major religions as shown on the Golden Rule hand bill calling the representatives of the two religions to disseminate what they learned to their followers.
The Chairman also registered his interest to work with FACIS & URI to promote relationship building and interfaith dialogue for sustainable peace in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area (LGA). He demanded that such dialogue between Muslims and Christians should be done centrally again and that his administration is ready to support FACIS/URI West Africa to reach every angle in the LGA.
ü The religious leaders requested for a more capacity building so that they can be well equipped with knowledge and skills on spreading the gospel of the golden rule which says “Do unto others what you want others do to you” as captured on the URI golden rule hand bills.
ü The golden rule hand bills be translated to Hausa for easy reading and assimilation
ü They are ready to be taken to other parts of the LGA to facilitate learning and experience sharing.
ü The Chairman requested that similar interfaith dialogue be organize centrally so as to reach more people and villages.
ü The administration gave its political will to support the program to succeed in the LGA
- Looking at the way the followers of the two religions (Religion/community/women/youth leaders) showed interest to work together to ensure peaceful coexistence in Tafawa Local Government Area (LGA) and the powerful request made by the Chairman Dr. Iliya Aliyu Gital for an innovative intervention on peace building, FACIS will develop a 2 year strategic plan for the implementation of an interfaith dialogue intervention that will heal relationships and build a true Nigerian community. The interfaith dialogue intervention will start by identifying community peace champions (CPCs) as an entry point for the formation of viable community structures in all the political wards of the local government area and using a unique community participatory approach called “Community Action Cycle (CAC) to build the structures capacity in problems/issues identification, root cause analysis, prioritization, for proffering solutions and actions from local perspectives.
- The same one day golden rule day will be organize in the neighboring Bogoro local government area which is also one of the religiously tensed LGA in Bauchi state. The idea is to get the attention and support of the two religions and political will of the administration.
- Considering that 98% of the people in Tafawa Balewa LGA are peasant farmers we will develop a plan for the implementation of a group (Muslims and Christians farmers mix) training in Bio-intensive agriculture that will help people to heal their relationships and households to grow organic food together. Our vision is to unite people of different faiths together for peaceful coexistence through BIOINTENSIVE Agriculture. “Growing food, nurturing relationships”.