This World Mission Sunday, get inspired by women reaching out across religious divides to heal their community. Hajiya is a Coordinator of the Women’s Interfaith Council (WIC) in Kaduna, northern Nigeria. The initiative is supported by Missio and features in our World Mission Sunday campaign this year. Here she shares why the work the Council does is so vital.
As a general coordinator, I oversee that Christians and Muslims come together and work together in harmony, and the daily activities of the organisation go well. I encourage people, both from the Christian and from the Muslim communities, that whenever something happens to anyone of us, we try to show concern and love. And whenever there are any celebrations around, we go together to show that we are one solid family.
Building a family of the two religions, believing that we all emanate from one god, we are all one family under one God, only that our means of reaching to the Lord are different.
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A crisis of faith?
For me personally, I feel that all these crises are not really religious. Because if you go down to the root of the crisis, it is not about any religious value. Religion is just being used because it is a value that everybody cherishes. But mostly it is social, economic and political issues that emanate. Religion is used to cover it, so that the people will be separated. The more people understand each other and come together, the more they can be able to tackle any issue that will come negatively to them.
Women can heal their community
For us women, we know that a woman’s issue is a woman’s issue. The children go to the same schools, we go to the same market; there is no distinct policy that directly affects only the Christian woman or the Muslim woman. So, if we are able to understand that as women, we bind together and speak with one voice, the men will also have to understand that.
There is no religion, not Christianity or Islam, which supports anybody dehumanising another or instigating problems or demeaning somebody else or trying to prevent somebody from their worship.
The values that lead to peace
If I respect you and you respect me, I respect your religion and you respect my religion, there is no way we can start having problems over our religions. I allow you to do what you do in your religion; you allow me to do what I do in my religion. Those are values that will lead to peace.
Muslims have a teaching from our prophet, Mohamed: He had Christian visitors, they were staying with him in the mosque, and when they wanted to go out and do their Mass they were looking for somewhere else to go, he said they should do it right there in the mosque, where he and his followers also said their prayers.
Women can bring harmony
You can see that there is harmony and there is a teaching in that, which means we should not dissimilate Christians from ourselves. We worship the same god, let them do their worship, the way they want to do it and we will do our worship the way we want to do it.
If women can come together and understand our issues and speak with one voice, definitely something will be changing. We guide the youth; but they are used in crises. We need to mentor them and show them how respect and love leads to peace. Women are catalysts and they have a very strong voice, a very strong role to play in decision making.
Starting from our home, a husband can’t have a smooth homelife without putting his wife in the decisions of the family. So, if that is so, and the family is the synonym for the society, it should be reflected in the larger society.
We are advocating that more women should be engaged and encouraged in decision-making positions so that they have a voice. They can say their own part, they look at things from a different perspective from what the men look at. And once their voicesare heard there will definitely be a difference in what is happening in our society.
World Mission Sunday is celebrated in every Catholic community in the world. It’s a moment of grace to express solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Christ who are living in situations of poverty, violence and oppression. Every parish, school and community is invited to join this special event, and every penny, pound and prayer you give to Missio helps missionaries everywhere continue their work.