President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Reverend Dr Samson Ayokunle, has restated the role of interreligious education in curbing violence in Nigeria, and the world in general.
This was his submission in his paper entitled “Interreligious Education and Common Citizenship Values,” presented at an interfaith seminar organised by an inter-governmental organisation, the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID), in Vienna, Austria.
According to a statement by Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, the Special Assistant (Media and Communications) to the CAN President, Ayokunle noted that education should be explored in the sense that it encourages diversity, which will help in fostering understanding and unity.
Lamenting the fact that history was no longer taught in primary and secondary schools, he said: “Today, when history is no longer taught, inter-religious education has become more difficult. This, to an extent, may be responsible for a surge in religious violence more rampant now in Nigeria. All religious groups in Nigeria in particular and the globe, in general, must make concerted efforts towards government’s inclusion of inter-religious education in schools’ curricula.
“As mainstream culture begins to recognise a growing need for inter-religious understandings and endeavours, the church must follow suit; otherwise, it runs the risk of falling behind. Unless it actively invites inter-religious inquiry and education, the church will be forced to follow the lead of secular society and spend years “catching up” to the educational initiatives created there.
“One place to begin this inquiry is in seminaries and church-schools. The church must begin by educating its educators. Our seminaries and religious schools must incorporate interfaith learning, dialogue and exchange in their theological training techniques. The church will, in this way, be granting its leaders permission to explore
inter-religious avenues. In so doing, the church will also be sanctioning similar exploration in its constituency so that it both encourages interfaith dialogue and teaches people appropriate forms of exploration.”
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