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“Tolerance and mutual support in a small town”
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“Tolerance and mutual support in a small town”

Nuraddeen Haruna Idris picA small town in a troubled area provides a shining example of tolerance and faith, writes Nuraddeen Haruna Idris, 21, a Correspondent from Yobe State, Nigeria.

I am a young person growing up in north eastern part of Nigeria where crises are taking place. For the past six years, many challenges have faced this region, from religion crisis to terrorism attacks by so-called jihadist.

But I believe that everyone has a right to live and practice any religion of his choice. That is why I want to  tell the world a short story about peace and freedom in my town, despite the crisis taking place. Whenever it comes to religion freedom, I always recommended my town. According to my understanding, the major sources of problems facing the north eastern part of Nigeria is lack of education, lack of religious freedom and illiteracy. Many will agree with me by reading this short story about freedom of religion in Kukar-Gadu.

Kukar-Gadu is a small town of approximately 3,000 people in Yobe State. The people comes from two different religions, Christianity and Islam. Six decades back, the majority of the people in the community practiced Islam and few practiced traditional region. In time, Christian missionaries came and due to their preaching, the majority of those practicing traditional religion join Christianity. A few converted from Islam to Christianity, so that Islam and Christianity are now the major religions in that community.

Right now, two per cent of the people practice traditional religion, 35 per cent practice Christianity, and 63 per cent practice Islam. The most interesting thing in K.G town is the belief in each cultural group that the supernatural power may be embodied in a common concept – God – and that powers affect human life through the human mind or psyche.

Both majority groups agree that religion is more fundamental and more comprehensive; this may be understood as a claim that religious convictions are more important to human life than anything. Once you believe in this, you won’t disrespect any religion. Our people all believed that the best beginning for everything is to begin with peace, because then everyone is free to worship his own God.

The amazing thing about K.G town is that siblings from the same parents practice different religions; in some case husband and wife worship in different faith beliefs, and that does not stop them from loving each other, protecting each other, helping each other. In some places is difficult to grow up in such community, but ours is different. We have freedom of religion.

Another fine thing in K.G is that there are churches and mosques. The Christians have a big church which can accommodate more than four hundred people, meanwhile the Muslims have a big mosque that also accommodates more than four hundred peoples. The followers of both religions have strong belief and respect for one another. Both also agree and believe that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his or her belief at any time. That is why you will see a combination of two religions living together with love, peace and harmony. For instance, when you visit K.G community during Christmas or New Year you would think that the entire peoples are Christians. Likewise, if visit during Ramadan you will think they are all Muslims due to their unity, peace, love and respect to one another.

Both Muslims and Christians go to the same schools, farm the same piece of land, and many of them believe they are their brothers’ and sisters’ keepers despite their different religions. In K.G., each and every member has a right to eat food of his choice, according to their faith.

Serious actions are taken when someone disrespects his partner or friend because of religion differences. The people of K.G believe in the right to freedom of expression, which includes the right to receive information and ideas from and impart them to others. That’s what makes them great. One among many good examples of our freedom of religion in K.G is our mode of dressing. Christian are allowed to wear their dress according their religious believed, likewise Muslims are also allowed to do so.

When writing this article, I ask one Muslim and one Christian the same question: Why do you believe in peace and love among one another? The first man answered with: ‘’the first requisite for the progress of a community is the brotherhood and unity amongst all’’. The second lady answered with: ‘’my religion teaches me tolerance, not hatred”.

I really believe and recommend Kukar-Gadu town as one of best places for freedom of religion in north east Nigeria. If our brothers and sisters learn a lesson from this small town, there will be more progress in our societies and there will be no place for violence and terrorism.

photo credit: abocon COEXIST via photopin (license)

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About me: I earned bachelor degree in computer science and diploma in networking engineering. I’m the owner of entrepreneurs’ ideas blog, which helps young talented entrepreneurs with ideas.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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