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Catholic Church Dismisses Islamisation of Osun Rumour, Commends Aregbesola on Religious Harmony

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Amidst the insinuation by some Christians in Osun State that Governor Rauf Aregbesola was planning to islamise the state, the Catholic Church in Nigeria has described the Governor as a strong support for the catholic in the state.

Speaking at a meeting with the Governor and other Bishops in Osogbo, on Wednesday, the representatives of the Pope and Ambassador of the Vatican, Most Reverend Augustine Kashuja commended the Aregbesola for “his legendary tolerance in the face of provocation.”

Fr. Kashuja dismissed the widespread rumour that the governor was attempting to Islamise the state with the recent judgment of an Osogbo High Court permitting Muslim female students to use hijab in public primary and secondary schools.

bishop and aregbe

According to Fr. Kashuja, Aregbesola did not have such intention, saying that the Catholic Church dialogues with government whenever there are thorny issues.

The meeting was part of the activities lined up for the ordination of a new Bishop for the Osogbo Dioceses of the Catholic Church.

Fr. Kashuja said: “Mr. Governor, I am delighted for your exceptional and warm reception. You are a great supporter of the Church. You are friendly and cordial with the Church.

“There has not been any face-off since you resumed office because we engage in dialogue a lot. When things go wrong, we dialogue. We don’t make noise, and I assure you that we shall continue to dialogue.”

Fr. Kashuja stated that the church is synonymous with peace and has the culture of dialogue, pledging the church’s maximum cooperation with the Governor.

He stressed: “We have no room for violence; we could dialogue for years. When some people raise dust of crisis, we keep quiet and dialogue. Your posture has assured me that the process of dialogue in religious matters, started by the Church will continue for the purpose of progress and development of humanity.”

Responding, Governor Aregbesola stated that no religion preached violence and commended the Catholic Church for refusing to join the bandwagon of those who hide under the cloak of religion to foment trouble.

Aregbesola said: “Your visit today will send signals to the whole world that this government has no ill-feeling against any sect or religion.

“I sometimes get disturbed when people fight or kill in the name of religion; whereas, religion is an instrument of developing capacity for love; instrument of refinement of human beings and an Instrument for testing our will to resist provocation.

“If religion fails, we must ask the adherents of that faith if they are truly practicing what they preach. All religions make love a central theme of their faiths. The cardinal focus of all religions is love.

“The major difference among faiths exists only in the methodology of attaining Godhead and there can be no difference in how they express their faith in relations to others and the need for love and compassion.

Earlier, the Catholic Bishop of Ibadan Diocese, Reverend Gabriel Leke Abegunrin, described the current government as the great supporter of the Catholic Church.

He attributed the support and collaboration being received from the state government to what he regarded as strong commitment of Governor Aregbesola to religious’ propagation.

Rev. Abegunrin who commended the efforts of the present government in maintaining peace and unity amidst diverse religious faithful, said it is on record that Osun remains one of the states in Nigeria that have done justice to the existing religions.

According to him, “I am happy that Osun government under the leadership of Governor Aregbesola has proven the required sincerity and justice to religions as expected from any leader whatsoever.

“Obviously Osun government is a great supporter of our church. The government has already established a very unique, robust and healthy relationship not only to Catholic members or muslims, but by extension, the christian community and other religious faithful.

Rev. Abegunrin who charged residents of the state on the need to promote love, unity and co-existence irrespective of religious differences, advocated religious tolerance as the major instrument to put an end to the current religious challenges.

Rev. Abegunrin who condemned in its entirety the alleged religious crisis that trailed the judgment of the State High Court over the right to wear hijab by the female muslim pupils in the public schools, said if dialogue had been given its best place by the protesting set of the christian community, the matter wouldn’t have escalated.

The religious leader who described the court order as valid, said not until a court injunction is being proved otherwise by an higher court, such verdict remains valid.

He noted that the only way out for whoever feels being dissatisfied with the court injunction was to approach a superior court and file an appeal towards the lower court judgment, saying the case of hijab would have put to rest if the aggrieved had taken a legal direction.

Rev. Abegunrin pointed out that the court injunction which had created a lot of disaffection among the members of the populace due to over anticipation, would have been intellectually averted if proper steps had been taken.

He called on the people to always address issues with passion especially issues that bother on religions, saying proper understanding of the constitutional procedure in seeking a redress, would in greater measure helps to avoid unnecessary societal fracas.

The cleric described catholic community as a peace-loving religious body, saying as far as christianity is concerned, there is no room for violence.

Rev. Abegunrin who declared as uncalled for, the wearing of ceremonial garments to schools by the christian pupils, adding that such act amounts to a complete religious aberration.

 

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