A USA don, Prof. Jon Pahl has proposed “deep peace” as the way forward for countering violent extremism in Nigeria.
Pahl, a professor of History at the United Lutheran Seminary, USA, made the remarks while delivering a keynote address at the 4th International Conference on Love and Tolerance on Tuesday in Lagos.
The conference, with the theme: “Countering violence extremism” was organised by an Abuja based Ufuk Dialogue Foundation.
The Foundation is a platform set up to promote social dialogue, co-existence, interfaith or inter-ethnic dialogue for mutual understanding.
According to Pahl, deep peace is the way forward because all religions teach a peace.
“Peace is beyond human calculations and for that reason, many religions have lasted thousands of years.
“Religious traditions provide a peace that surpasses understanding. That is why religions have lasted for thousands of years.
“All religions teach a peace that is beyond human calculations and anyone who engages deeply with their faith will automatically have that peace,’’ he said.
Also speaking at the conference, Dr Abdul-Hakeem Abdul-Lateef, Lagos State Commissioner for Home Affairs, urged Nigerians to respect one another, regardless of the religious inclination.
According to him, one of the greatest problems facing Nigeria today is the misunderstanding of one’s religion.
“Most people, who call themselves extremists, are the most ignorant of their religion.
“And one of the greatest problems we have today is the misunderstanding of one religion followers by the others,’’ the commissioner said.
In his remarks, the chairman Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Apostle Alexander Bamgbola urged the state and Federal Governments to foster dialogue with the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC).
According to him, such dialogue would help to tackle issues that can set the nation on fire.
Other speakers at the event were Dr Elishama Ideh, founder/president Christ the Ever-Present Ministry (CTEM) and Prof. Murtala Aderemi, a lecturer at University of Lagos.
Ideh expressed the belief that love, patience, tolerance, unity, equity and fairness would help tackle violence.
“Love, patience, tolerance, unity, equity, fairness and justice must be properly aligned together to counter violent extremism,’’ she said.
Prof. Aderemi said tolerance was not an appropriate approach to violence because it has a negative connotation.
He defined tolerance as accepting someone or something grudgingly or reluctantly.
Rather, he said people should just be accommodating.
According to him, violence and terrorism were symptoms and that rather than talking about them, “we should address the root cause.
“Violence and terrorism are symptoms and the only way to stop violence is to stop talking about it and talk about the root cause”.
SOURCE: Agency report