For instance, Ashafa and Wuye defused potential violence surrounding the 2006 Dutch cartoon fiasco, which inflamed many communities around the world.Sensing danger, they immediately asked the heads of the Christian Associations of Nigeria to appear on radio and television to publicly condemn the negative depiction of the Prophet Mohammed in the cartoons, and asked the Chief Imams to accept the condemnation and ask for calm.Their tactic of publicly encouraging Muslim and Christian leaders to support each other and sign peace agreements has proven successful in building ties between the two communities and towards their shared goal of mitigating violence.
Their education and media outreach strategies have afforded them unprecedented, widespread support and legitimacy for their efforts to promote peaceful coexistence.
However, a chance meeting in 1995 brought the two clerics together and through intermediaries and months of soul searching, both leaders decided to lay down their arms and work together to end the destructive violence plaguing their country.
This chance meeting and Imam’s extension of the olive branch to Wuye led to the formation of the Interfaith Mediation Center of the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Forum.
According to Imam Ashafa: ‘Religion is a candle to light the house or to burn down the house.
It is an energy, and like nuclear energy, it can be used for good or destructive purposes.