By Batere Dan-Inni with Agency Report
Members of the Shiites community in Nigeria on Wednesday joined millions of Christians to celebrate this year’s Christmas to promote interfaith understanding.
The Shiites who are members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) attended a Christmas Church service at Church of the Advent, Samaru, Zaria.
The visitors presented a gift to the church as a sign of love.
Speaking in an interview with NAN shortly after the service, Isa Hassan-Mshelgaru, leader of the team, said the essence of attending the service was to promote love, tolerance, and understanding among Nigerians.
The service was conducted at Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, Diocese of Zaria, Church of the Advent, Samaru, Kaduna state.
“We came to celebrate Christmas with fellow Christians here because we consider them as our brothers and we don’t have anything to give them than to come and celebrate this day with them,” Hassan-Msjelgaru said.
“As they consider this day very important, we also consider it very important, we feel that we should come and visit them so as to clear some of the unnecessary imaginary boundaries that have been created.
“There are some imaginary boundaries that could not be seen that kept us far away from each other, so, we want to breach this gap, so that we come together as brothers and sisters living in the same country and same locality.”
Hassan-Mshelgaru appealed to other Nigerians, whether Muslims, Christians or traditional worshipers to shun all forms of hatred, saying religion was not all about hate but a means of bonding people together.
“You can be a Muslim, a Christian or a Traditionalist, always bear in mind that religion should be a platform for bringing people together not separating them,” he said.
“So, my appeal is that Nigerians should come together under the same umbrella as we live in the same country to ensure united and formidable country.”
Isuwa Sa’idu, vicar of the church, expressed appreciation for the visit and urged the visitors to sustain the tempo for the good of the nation.
“In fact, I am so excited that they can think of a thing like this to come and visit us on Christmas Day celebration like this,” he said.
“When we first got the news of their coming, I was just so overwhelmed and I said I can’t wait for that day to come, here and behold the day has come, the visit had really gladdened our hearts.”
According to him, the visit shows that Nigerians are looking for peace and they are actually pursuing it and not just pursuing it with words but with action.
“So, their action of rising to come to visit us has shown that truly we have found that peace. Because Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace and if everybody will behave like our friends and brothers, the Muslim Brothers, I don’t think we will have problems in this country,” he said.