Detailed bio of ICIPH

The idea behind establishment of a specialized Interfaith Center in Nigeria to address inter-religious conflicts was borne out of a fact-finding mission undertaken in May 2012 by an international delegation of Muslim and Christian leaders led by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Royal Jordanian Aal Al-Bayt Institute of Islamic Thought [RABIIT]. According to the “Fact-finding Report”, the delegation’s visit was proposed in reaction to the numerous incidents of fierce inter-communal strives which tremendously affected the lives of Nigerians during the period 2000 to 2012, especially knowing that -at least since the Bosnian war of 1993 to 1995- Nigeria is the only country in the world where most severe inter-communal violence between Christians and Muslims was experienced.

A major outcome of the fact-finding mission was the proposal to establish a neutral information-collection and archive center, ideally both virtually and on the ground in Nigeria, which will facilitate the sharing of stories, allow the voices of those who feel themselves voiceless to be heard and recorded and to assist with collecting of accurate data about incidents of violence, online and through hotlines.  In a nutshell, the aim of establishing the new Center will be to generate accurate, impartial and indelible record of injustices, violence and atrocities which can serve not only as deterrent but also as an honest starting point for future solutions.

To come up with such an interfaith organization, the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Royal Jordanian Aal Al-Bayt Institute of Islamic Thought [RABIIT] in close collaboration with their Nigerian partners; Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN) and Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), commissioned Consultants to assess viability of establishing the Center, in particular the potential buy-in of religious leaders from both faiths and to advice on its setting up.

After very wide consultations, an important finding of the Consultants was that almost 95% of their respondents favored creation of an interfaith center, while the remaining 5% questioned the need for another initiative when there are many Interfaith Dialogue Organizations already on ground in the country. Despite the abundance of indigenous as well as foreign interfaith initiatives across Nigeria, findings in the field revealed that there was still need for a specific Center, owned, run and managed by a leading Muslim Organization (JNI) and a Leading Christian Organization (CCN), devoid of political interference, working in close partnership with local and international organizations for Nigeria.

In line with the many recommendations of the Consultants, WCC and RABIIT, in partnership with CCN and JNI decided to establish such an interfaith organization in Nigeria. This fundamental decision led to the formation of the International Center for Interfaith, Peace and Harmony (ICIPH), whose office premises is situated at No. 4 Kinkino Road, Off Alkali Road, Kaduna, was commissioned on 19 August 2016. Since its commissioning in August 2016, the ICIPH has been working toward achieving the objectives it was set up to achieve. 

The idea behind establishment of a specialized Interfaith Center in Nigeria to address inter-religious conflicts was borne out of a fact-finding mission undertaken in May 2012 by an international delegation of Muslim and Christian leaders led by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Royal Jordanian Aal Al-Bayt Institute of Islamic Thought [RABIIT]. According to the “Fact-finding Report”, the delegation’s visit was proposed in reaction to the numerous incidents of fierce inter-communal strives which tremendously affected the lives of Nigerians during the period 2000 to 2012, especially knowing that -at least since the Bosnian war of 1993 to 1995- Nigeria is the only country in the world where most severe inter-communal violence between Christians and Muslims was experienced.

A major outcome of the fact-finding mission was the proposal to establish a neutral information-collection and archive center, ideally both virtually and on the ground in Nigeria, which will facilitate the sharing of stories, allow the voices of those who feel themselves voiceless to be heard and recorded and to assist with collecting of accurate data about incidents of violence, online and through hotlines.  In a nutshell, the aim of establishing the new Center will be to generate accurate, impartial and indelible record of injustices, violence and atrocities which can serve not only as deterrent but also as an honest starting point for future solutions.

To come up with such an interfaith organization, the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Royal Jordanian Aal Al-Bayt Institute of Islamic Thought [RABIIT] in close collaboration with their Nigerian partners; Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN) and Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), commissioned Consultants to assess viability of establishing the Center, in particular the potential buy-in of religious leaders from both faiths and to advice on its setting up.

After very wide consultations, an important finding of the Consultants was that almost 95% of their respondents favored creation of an interfaith center, while the remaining 5% questioned the need for another initiative when there are many Interfaith Dialogue Organizations already on ground in the country. Despite the abundance of indigenous as well as foreign interfaith initiatives across Nigeria, findings in the field revealed that there was still need for a specific Center, owned, run and managed by a leading Muslim Organization (JNI) and a Leading Christian Organization (CCN), devoid of political interference, working in close partnership with local and international organizations for Nigeria.

In line with the many recommendations of the Consultants, WCC and RABIIT, in partnership with CCN and JNI decided to establish such an interfaith organization in Nigeria. This fundamental decision led to the formation of the International Center for Interfaith, Peace and Harmony (ICIPH), whose office premises is situated at No. 4 Kinkino Road, Off Alkali Road, Kaduna, was commissioned on 19 August 2016. Since its commissioning in August 2016, the ICIPH has been working toward achieving the objectives it was set up to achieve. 

ICIPH Projects

Major objective of the ICIPH is to contribute to the process of peace through promoting justice and reconciliation between Christians and Muslims, with particular emphasis on the Northern States of Nigeria, where many of the flash points were located. To achieve this, the Center shall monitor, document, record and publicize conflicts in an effort to safeguard and promote justice on one hand and on the other, to provide the public with interfaith education on Muslim and Christian faiths, so as to nurture peaceful co-existence among peoples of different faiths. The ICIPH also aims at bringing together local and international faith based agencies and experts in conflict transformation to address interfaith relationships in Nigeria in collaboration with quasi-governmental organizations, national and international NGOs. Not by any means the least, ICIPH shall also deploy resources to enable voices of victims especially women and children to be heard and provide examples of interreligious good practice to be shared around the world. Planned Tasks of ICIPH:

  • To seek out and store, documents first-hand information, comprising photos, videos, recordings and eye-witness accounts and all other kinds of evidence, including physical, pertaining to religious conflicts.
  • To seek out, sort and store information pertaining to religious conflicts, including books, reports, newspaper articles, journals, studies, official commission reports, government memos, police surveillance video, documentaries and all other kinds of information.
  • To seek out, sort and store information pertaining to other organizations and groups based in Nigeria which offer examples of ‘good practice’ in interreligious cooperation. Such information may include publication on best practices, inspiring stories of good neighborliness and reports of peace-generating activities.
  • To operate 24-hour, 365-day phone information ‘hotlines’; on-line internet information repositories; safe, anonymous physical ‘drop-site’ for evidence; safe-house facilities for conducting anonymous interviews with victims in or near to conflict zones.
  • To maintain a website sharing checked and reliable information.
  • To be linked to a ‘safe holding-center’ outside (e.g in the UK or Norway) the country which would also hold all available information as a back-up to ensure that evidence and information is available even if the local center is attacked or temporarily unable to function.
  • To act as model for other similar Centers to be established in other regions/countries where there is interreligious conflict.

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