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.
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.
The following in an excerpt from an interview with Pastor Wuye and Imam Ashafa by Africa Today: I put it to Pastor James that there are those – and there is an extensive list – who do not believe that after vowing to kill each other and confronting each other murderously for a long time, all is now forgiven and that they have kissed and made-up.
Is this a match made in heaven or a match made in ?
Our task is to see religion used for positive purposes.’ According to Pastor Wuye, ‘Nigeria is a very religious country.
The conflict entrepreneurs use faith as the medium to inspire violence.
We’re using faith to de-programme violence.’ I really recommend seeing the film.
It premiered at the United Nations in New York and was screened at the House of Commons in the UK.
In one of the violent clashes between Muslim Youth Councils and Youth Christian Association of Nigeria, two cousins and Ashafa’s spiritual mentor died while fighting Pastor Wuye’s Christian group.
For years, both Ashafa and Wuye vowed to avenge the deaths and injuries of their loved ones by killing each other.
Wuye and Ashafa are influencing schools, houses of worship, and community centers to prevent violence and intervene when conflicts erupt.