Niger: Niamey opens a forum on the culture of peace through religious dialogue in the subregion


An article in Mali Actu (Source: Xinhua News Agency) (translation by CPNN)

Education for the culture of peace through intra and inter-religious dialogue is at the center of a forum of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) since Tuesday in the Nigerien capital, Niamey, under the presidency of the Head of State of Niger Mahamadou Issoufou. This important meeting, which is in its first edition will last two days, welcomes the delegations of the 15 member countries of ECOWAS as well as important religious figures.

Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou, Archive photo / REUTERS / Brian Snyder

According to President Mahamadou Issoufou, in his opening remarks, this forum comes at a time when the Sahelo-Saharan zone, notably the Lake Chad basin, faces terrorist threats. “In this region, people kill, rape and plunder in the name of Islam. Elsewhere, we are witnessing the exploitation of other religions for political, economic and social purposes, “he said.

In his opinion, it is therefore normal to promote education for the culture of peace through intra-and inter-religious dialogue in the ECOWAS region.

According to Nigeria’s Minister of Culture, Assoumana Malam Issa, the forum aims to guarantee the economic development and social integration of the fifteen member countries of ECOWAS, an area that today faces “political and social crises and tensions, both thnic and religious, that slow down the momentum in which this organization was launched.”

Several socio-cultural factors are at the root of the instability observed in the member states. They include “misunderstanding, interpreting and distorting precepts within religions, ignorance, injustice (real injustice or suspected), and mutual suspicion, as well as intolerance and extremism, the root causes of conflict.”

Thanks to the remarkable presence of the different religious confessions of the countries, it should be possible “to establish an interreligious dialogue, to bring about harmonious relations between the religions, to discuss the peaceful coexistence through the education of the faithful on the need to build a culture of peace, to inculcate in religious leaders a culture of interreligious dialogue of action in order to transform religious pluralism into a factor of social development “.

ECOWAS was established in 1975 to promote the socio-economic integration of States through the free movement of goods and persons. It comprises 15 member states namely Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, Nigeria, Guinea Bissau, Senegal, Mali, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Togo, Cape Verde , The Gambia, Guinea-Conakry, and Ghana.

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