U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires David Young, on Friday hosted a roundtable discussion with Nigerian religious leaders to mark Religious Freedom Day, with participants sharing their experiences and perspectives regarding religious freedom, interfaith cooperation, tolerance, and peace building efforts.
Young commended the efforts of the Nigerian leaders and emphasized the importance of putting faith into action by “walking the talk.”
He said although the United States is one of the most religiously diverse societies in the world, it is not perfect but the United States Government places great importance on protecting religious freedom and promoting tolerance and understanding. He urged the religious leaders to serve as catalysts for peace and reconciliation in Nigeria.
Commenting on how religious freedom relates to tolerance, Chargé Young said the fact that a majority of Americans do not share the beliefs of a minority faith does not make those beliefs and practices any less protected in the United States.
Participants at the roundtable included Pastor James Wuye and Imam Mohammed Ashafa, Co-Directors of the Interfaith Mediation Centre; Imam Fuad Adeyemi, National Chief Imam, Al Habibiyyah Centre; Reverend Dominic Adeiza, Director of Training, Lux Terra Leadership Foundation, Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja; Bishop Peter Ogunmuyiwa, Coordinating Chaplain, Christian Association of Nigeria; Imam Abdullahi Karshi, Chief Imam of FCDA Mosque, Jama’atu Izalatil Bid’ah Wa’iqamatis Sunnah; Dr. Stephen Fagbemi, General Secretary, Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion; and Mr. Ustaz Christian Isa Okonkwo, Director of Administration, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs.