Abuja - Conveners and members of Inter-faith Activities and Partners for Peace (IFAPP), a newly established NGO, on Tuesday said the Sunday bombing of a church in Kaduna was a fundamentally criminal act.
IFAPP is a national platform for interfaith dialogue among Muslim and Christian clerics and leaders for the fostering of peaceful coexistence and development in Nigeria.
Their position was contained in a statement jointly signed by Rev. Fr. George Ehusani and Malam Nurudeen Lemu and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
"We are extremely saddened by and wholeheartedly condemn the recent suicide bombing of St. Rita’s Catholic Church, Ungwan Yero in Kaduna State by yet-to-be identified person(s).
"The overwhelming majority of Muslims in Nigeria are peace-loving and believe in the sacredness of places of worship and the inherent dignity, equality and inviolability of all human beings.
"The suicide bombing of St. Rita’s Catholic Church was, therefore, fundamentally a criminal act by law-breakers, who should be speedily apprehended and made to face the full weight of the law," the statement said.
The clerics appealed to Christians in Ungwan Yero and beyond not to view the act as an attack on Christians by Muslims.
According to them, any retaliatory action will only play into the hands of the misguided few, who are bent on fanning inter-religious conflict and violence.
"We commend the efforts of a number of Muslim leaders in Kaduna State to support their Christian counterparts in providing succour care and assistance to the victims of the bomb blast," the clerics said.
The y urged the public to regard the tragedy as an opportunity for strengthening inter-faith dialogue for peace, mutual respect and understanding, justice and community development.
Ehusani, who is of the Lux Terra Leadership Foundation and Lemu of the Islamic Education Trust, both of FCT, pledged to continue to work for peaceful coexistence of religious groups in Nigeria.
NAN recalls that St. Rita’s Catholic Church, Ungwan Yero Malali in Kaduna, was attacked on Oct. 27 during mass, leaving some people dead and many injured.