USING FAITH AS A TOOL FOR PEACE IN THE COMMUNITY
THE HUMAN IMPACT: Interfaith Mediation Centre uses interfaith dialogue to promote the principle of the Golden Rule towards global peace. Many and refugees are from conflict areas – often spurred by religious differences – and these programs can prevent violence and promote trust and relationship building through dialogue among people of different faiths, particularly between Muslim and Christian communities.
THE NUMBERS: For nearly twenty years the Interfaith Mediation Centre has engaged in peace building, conflict resolution, and promoting inclusive governance in rural communities in Nigeria. IMC have carried out over 200 interventions successfully locally, nationally and internationally, as well as ongoing projects in Nigeria, Sudan, Kenya and Chad.
HOW DOES IT WORK? With the Interfaith Mediation Centre, the former religious leaders Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye create a peaceful society through non-violence and strategic engagement. The Interfaith Mediation Centre has been working in the areas of peace-building with faith-based groups, promoting community dialogue among warring groups through mediation, negotiation, interfaith media dialogue, and training of peace advocates across Nigeria and in other parts of the world. The Centre has intervened in many conflict-prone communities. At the end of the interventions, peace agreements have been signed by the conflicting groups or communities towards the restoration of peace in those localities and within the groups, among several other initiatives promoting and sustaining peace.
WHO LEADS IT? Ten years ago, Imam Ashafa and Pastor James were mortal enemies, literally prepared to kill one another in the name of religion. In 1992, violent inter-religious conflict broke out in Kaduna State. Christians and Muslims fought each other in the marketplace, destroying each others’ crops and attacking each others’ families. Both the Imam and the Pastor were drawn into the fighting, and both paid a heavy price for their involvement. Afterwards, they each dreamed of revenge against the other. Nonetheless, as leaders in their communities, the two men reluctantly agreed to meet. Over the next few years, through increasingly frequent meetings and separate religious epiphanies, the two men slowly built mutual respect, and decided to work together to bridge the religious divides between their communities.
HOW HELLO EUROPE IS HELPING: Connecting IMC to Ashoka’s network of funding and media partners in Europe, where there is an increasing need to learn how to mediate between different cultures, and to integrate religious mediation in the process. Through partnerships with intercultural groups such as IKM (Institut für konstructive Konfliktaustragung und Mediation) in Germany, they have been able to incorporate religious mediation training into their main programs. This process has also helped IMC develop new intercultural tools, and improve their scaling strategy to continue to spread their solution at a global level.
WHAT THEY NEED NOW: IMC is interested in connecting to faith groups, academia, politicians, ethnic groups, funders /donors and media groups.