Ministry of Mutual Respect Between Christians and Muslims in the Anglican Diocese of Gusau
The Anglican Diocese of Gusau is located in the capital city of Zamfarra State in the north of Nigeria. In this part of Nigeria, Christians are a small minority (about 10%) among a Muslim majority (about 90%). Since the time of Nigerian independence from Britain (1960), there has been much animosity and violence toward the Christian populations in the northern states, particularly in Gusau.
Almost all of the Christians in this part of Nigeria and immigrants from the southern part of Nigeria and members of different tribes. For that reason, they are seen as “outsiders” and are not trusted by the Hausa tribe majority. When political controversies have erupted between northern and southern interests, northern Christians have been killed in mass pogroms. In recent years, churches and Christian schools have been destroyed with the tacit agreement of government officials and with no recompense for damages.
The Anglican Bishop of Gusau, John Danbinta has tried to foster a climate of mutual respect between Christians and Muslims in this difficult cultural context, striving to be ‘good neighbors’ who make a positive contribution to every citizen in our society, Muslims as well as Christians.
It is with that basic conviction in mind that KMS began our partnership with the Diocese of Gusau. Our vision was to build a good hospital in the capital city that would offer the best possible medical care at an affordable rate for all citizens of Gusau. For this reason, we have made an extra effort here to work in harmony with the Muslim majority.
Unlike any of our other clinics, we have a policy of hiring half Muslim and half Christian employees at the clinic. When we do our annual intensive free medical outreach, we strive to recruit as many Muslim doctors ad nurses as possible. Our patients for these outreaches are overwhelmingly Muslim
( about 66%). Our goal is to treat every patient with the respect and kindness that we would want for ourselves.
Our medical missions have been successful in building better relations between Muslims and Christians. Local Muslim leaders attended the dedication of the new hospital in 2018 and have visited our medical outreach events. A local Muslim-owned television station has given positive coverage of our outreach missions and has given Bishop John prime-time speaking opportunities to speak on behalf of Graceland Hospital.
After serving with us for two years in a row, two of the Muslim male nurses approached us to ask if we would allow them to volunteer on other medical missions in other places. They told us that they “want to serve humanity” and that they admire how we live out the teachings of our faith. We have agreed to invite them to our other outreaches in other areas of Nigeria. At the moment, this has not been possible because of the COVID - 19 pandemic but we hope that it can happen in the near future.
We are grateful for SAMS assistance to our clinic here through the World Relief Fund. We used some of the money from recent grants to purchase PPEs for our cliic staff at Graceland Hospital.
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