Welcome Address Delivered by Mr Kamor Disu, the Executive Chairman, Muslim Public Affairs Centre, Nigeria during the Opening Ceremony of the 2nd MPAC National Convention held at Water Parks Event Centre, Ikeja, Lagos on Saturday, 1st & Sunday, 2nd December, 2012 (17th & 18th Muharram, 1434)
Towards a Peaceful Co-Existence
As-salaamu alaykum wa ramatuhllahi wa barakatuh (Peace be upon you and may God bestow on you His blessings).
MPAC is excited to welcome you back to another interesting Convention. Another year has rolled by quickly and a number of significant events have taken place both locally and internationally. Putting this into perspective, we have themed this year's edition "Towards a Peaceful Co-Existence". We are delighted to be presenting you with yet another two days of inspiring, educative, insightful and spiritually uplifting event. For those attending this august event for the first time, it is our heartfelt pleasure to see you and your family.
Over the past year, the MPAC Convention has established itself as the landmark event in the annual Muslim events’ calendar and is now recognized as a great rallying point for Muslim and national unity.
Muslims and Christians make up a hugely significant proportion of the Nigerian population. Together we can make a big achievement in putting our nation on the right course of recovery, healing, righteousness, growth, peace and prosperity. Christian-Muslim interaction is a reality today in all corners of the globe, but while many celebrate the commonality of these traditions, significant differences remain. We need to acknowledge these significant differences without losing sight of and celebrating our major commonality. Our leaders have engaged in serious interfaith dialogue so that Islam and Christianity can approach each other with respect, while preserving their distinct identities. The seriousness and contents of such efforts have enabled us to shed potential for worse affliction than we are currently facing. Together we must make sincere commitment not to severe the uniting links between the Bible and the Qur’an because these links lie in the centre of the religion of Prophet Abraham (AS): Faith in God and the highest Commandments associated with it; the love of God; and the love of the neighbour.
The level of insecurity being witnessed in the country today and the murdering of innocent people by a marginal few on both sides is unacceptable. Respectable Muslim and Christian leaders have repeated this message in very clear and unequivocal terms, and their voices have been amplified by all peaceable people in the country. Lives and properties have been lost while thousands of people have been displaced from their homes for no particular crime. Rather than remembering conflicts and not resolving anger however, we must heed God's advice when He says: "….But if ye forgive and overlook, and cover up (their faults), verily Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (At-Taghabun, 14). We must therefore continue to call to peaceful co-existence and promote dialogue as a way of life.
Islam commands love, mercy and peace, while terrorism is cruel, merciless and demands bloodshed and misery. Irrespective of the identity of the trigger-men, if someone, without blinking an eye, murders a person for no reason other than the fact that the person killed represents the 'others', such a trigger-man has committed an act strongly condemned by the divine religions. Those who think that they will be successful by promoting hate, upheaval and oppression, and by killing innocent people are committing a great error as Allah has forbidden all acts of wickedness involving terrorism and violence. "Allah does not uphold the works of those who cause mischief." (Surah Yunus, 81).
What’s more, Allah repeats in the Qur'an a command He formerly revealed to Jews in the Torah thus: "...if someone kills another person - unless it is in retaliation for someone else or for causing corruption in the earth - it is as if he had murdered all mankind. And if anyone gives life to another person, it is as if he had given life to all mankind”. (Surah al-Ma'ida, 32)
As we find ourselves in these challenging times, MPAC presents to you an event that promises to offer Islamic solutions to the problems that beleaguer our society. This event challenges us to take a moment to assess our individual roles as part of the solution in a rapidly changing world; calls us to show exemplary standard of behaviour in accordance with the prophetic model; inspires us to make use of our best talents; empowers us to rise up to be great people, and work together as One Ummah to reflect the core Islamic principles of peace, justice, mercy, and equality for our nation and the entire mankind. More than before, there is an urgent need for increased co-operation and alliance between the two major faiths in Nigeria to defeat the extremism of those threatening our very existence as a nation. This is the time for us to design a common agenda for change and rebuild trust for peaceful co-existence. With openness and genuine intentions, this cooperation and alliance will be based on the sincere believers' quest for justice, peace, and support for all people.
On behalf of all the MPAC stakeholders, I wish to express my unalloyed thanks to our sponsors and partners for believing in us, and for making this important event, by the grace of God, a reality. Without your strong support and investment, this event would have remained a lovable dream. Finally, I and my colleagues welcome you and your families to yet another great event and we pray that Allah blesses our nation with increased faith, piety and grant us peace and security from Him. Amin.