Love and Tolerance Conference, Abuja

Call for Togetherness, Education and Love

Conference of Love and Tolerance: Two Dynamics for Personal and Social Reform

Conference of Love and Tolerance: Two Dynamics for Personal and Social Reform was organized by Ufuk Dialogue Foundation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution and Fountain Magazine. The conference took place on 21st of January 2015 at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution Conference Hall.

His Eminence Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja,   Dr. Abubakar Salihu, Waziri of Katsina  represented Sultan of Sokoto; His Eminence  Muhammad Sa’ad  Abubakar, The Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, Metropolitan Archbishop and Primate of Anglican Communion, Prof. Oshita O. Oshita, Director General IPCR, Hakan Yesilova Chief Editor of Fountain Magazine and Ercan Ulgur Secretary General of Ufuk Dialogue Foundation, 400 participants including Academicians, Diplomats and Media Representatives followed the conference.

Prof. Oshita O. Oshita DG of IPCR, Ministry of Foreign Affairs said “The basis of destructions lies in the inability of some people to appreciate the positive values of associated with modernity, democracy, freedom and pluralism which emphasize freedom of thought, religion as well as respect for human rights”.

Dr. Abubakar Salihu, Waziri of Katsina representing the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Muhammad Saad Abubakar, congratulated Ufuk Dialogue Foundation for organizing such kind of conferences not only in Nigeria but also different parts of the world with a view of love and tolerance.

He brought the message of Sultan of Sokoto; Sultan urges people to remember love and tolerance are the key determinants for peace and stability. Peace and stability are the key determinants for development… There must be love between people and the election process must be conducted in a peaceful atmosphere. Politicians who trigger people into conflict do so from the comfort of their houses and hiding.

His Eminence, Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja highlighted that “You cannot love God if you cannot love your neighbour.  Saint John says; Love of God: It is not our love for God, But God’s loves for us. Cardinal thanked Ufuk Dialogue Foundation for bringing people together.”  He added that: “My own message to this conference is we should resist this temptation. The temptation to be resigned, we should refuse to admit that the world must always be at war because God created the world for love. Common words: love of God and love of neighbour, are the core of our belief. Our world is full of conflicts wars, terrorism. And our temptation is like, to resign and say that is how the world is, it cannot be better.”

The Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, Metropolitan Archbishop and Primate of Anglican Communion mentioned important points as follows: “Our problems and difficulties are the same for Muslims and Christians, also for the African traditional beliefs. Even for those who have no type of faith there. If there is no water, there is no light, there is no road, it is not a question of Muslims or Christians.  At a level, we must cooperate to get these things done and live well. We need to work hard to take this to grassroots. There are people who cannot come close. The question is how we can reach them with this united message love. We need ways to reach the grassroots.

Head of Mission African Union Diaspora African Forum Ambassador Dr. Erica Bennitalso gave a goodwill message and congratulated the organizers on behalf of Madam Zuma Chairperson African Union. She said: “what happens in Nigeria affects all Africa.”

Guest Speaker Chief Editor of Fountain Magazine Mr. Hakan Yesilova said: “This book has a double purpose. On the one hand, it is a call to Muslims to a greater awareness that Islam teaches the need for dialogue and that Muslims are called to be agents and witnesses to God’s universal mercy. On the other hand, the book is an invitation to non-Muslims to move beyond prejudice, suspicion, and half-truths in order to arrive at an understanding what Islam is really about.

What is important with regards to understanding love is the effort. Love is a struggle. This beauty is an effort combined with faith and reason. Faith and reason are the two sources that we can lean up. Faith discovers our awareness and reason explore ourselves and the universe. The solutions are long-term, there are no overnight solutions. One side of the solution I believe is the civil society. The civil society should take initiatives to solve the problems.

He also pointed out very important decisions of the Author of Love and Tolerance and said: “Water cannot vaporize and attain purity without the challenge of the heat; a seed cannot sprout and rise to a higher life form without cracking and decomposing. Rivers cascade down and hit rocks to become as pure as the raindrops of a cloud. Spring does not come without winter. Even if it did, it would not be appreciated. Gold owes its value and brightness, and steel owes its hardness and durability, to the melting pots they were formed in. A bone-dry land revives and serves as a bed for thousands of flowers in proportion to the amount of lightning flashing over it. Darkness cocoons light in its bosom, to its own disadvantage. Winter always weaves its canvas for the benefit of spring. Hence, a spring follows every winter, and a day follows every night. Deaths are for resurrection, and sufferings are for attaining a more beautiful life. By dying and resurrecting thousands of times throughout their lives, individuals are freed from the dark and deceiving pressures of the “ego” and reach eternity in their soul. A community ripens, matures, and attains immortality through the sufferings it undergoes and by clawing its way against the troubles it faces.

O, you lazy soul! You expect it to rain without any thunder; you expect greenery without any seeds being cracked and no grains being sacrificed! You expect mothers to deliver babies but without any labour pains! Namely, you expect the general course of divine destiny and order, in spite of its splendid wisdom, to be shaped according to your personal considerations. No! You have not come to this world for fun, for living according to your fancies and fantasies. You have come for the sake of realizing your inherent human potentials and cultivating the exalted qualities in your essence, for the sake of your inner enlightenment. So that you may become a mirror to reflect the divine, you will be put into melting pots many times over and burned in fire; you will be pushed through barrels of needles and undergo many trials! This is very sad to hear but it is not the reality we are facing.”

Dr. Khalid Abubakar, The Secretary General of JNI was one of the speakers of the conference. In his speech, Dr. Khalid said: There is no better time to organize such a conference so that I thank the organizers. Darkness cannot drive out darkness, hatred cannot drive out hatred; only love can do that. Love brings acceptance and accommodation.

This book authored by Fethullah Gulen “Love and Tolerance” is an outstanding and moving forward of wisdom. It presents one of the most influential Muslim scholar and spiritual leader in the Islamic world today. The movement called Hizmet, meaning service, service to humanity for love, care, support and education, Movement is spread and guided by Fethullah Gulen is offering Muslims and people of the world a way to live with values and also answer the demand of modern society.

In over 260 pages of the book Love and Tolerance, The Author mentions crucial issues concerning general requirements to have the conception of life of care, love and understanding. We will not be reformed at the individual level until we are covered by these values: love and tolerance. Also, It is very important that how can we step down these values and important messages.”

Father Prof. Cornelius Omonokhua Director of Dialogue Mission of Catholic Secretariat said in his speech: “Fethullah Gulen he says “Freedom of faith is the fundamental human right and you must be reformed and that will help to reform the society. He also added that “A person is changed by education and society is changed through education. We are the products of our surroundings.

The conference ended with the vote of thanks message of Mr. Ercan Ulgur, Secretary General of Ufuk Dialogue Foundation.

The outcomes that the conference provided for the policymakers, intellectuals and civil societies are as follows:

1)     Personal reform is the step for the social reformation through peace, love and tolerance. The individual is the centre for our approaches to the challenges and development.

2)     Faith and reason are also two integrated dynamics for wisdom.

3)     We need projects to step down the values of love and tolerance.

4)     Education which reaches to grassroots is the key solution for our solutions.

5)     Muslims and Christians can come together to put solutions for common problems.

6)     To live for love and tolerance is also a struggle and needs effort.

7)     There are no overnight solutions. The solutions are long term.