IFAPP through the support of DAAR Group, parent company of Africa Independent Television (AIT), RayPower FM radio, has started delivering on its commitment through the recording and airing of the “Interfaith Forum” featuring people of different faiths with a moderator discussing issues. The “Interfaith Forum” emphasises our similarities and what binds us, as well as breaking down stereo types. The program is simulcast on the Africa Independent Television (AIT), RayPower FM radio as well as via YouTube. At least 32 episodes have been recorded to date out of which at least 22 have been aired. We have developed a schedule for recording and airing over 129 episodes, or two years, of programing.
The “Interfaith Forum” was originally conceived to be a 27 minutes pre-recorded daily television and simulcast radio programme to foster interfaith dialogue, not debate, during the month of Ramadan 2012 based on agreed thematic areas. It was intended to provide news titbits and insight on issues affecting and of concern to Nigerians of all faiths. In addition to the program, it was envisaged that at least 3 thematic jingles per week will be aired. During implementation it was found that the main discussions segment required the full amount of allotted time, of 24 minutes, and it was found that the audience appreciated the format and depth of discussions. During the month of Ramadan, a new episode of the “Interfaith Forum” was simulcast on AIT (television), and RayPower FM (radio), 3:30-4pm Nigeria (GMT+1) Monday to Friday. Subsequent to the end of Ramada 2012 (19 August 2012 – 18 September 2012) Africa Independent Television (AIT) is airing one episode of the “Interfaith Forum” twice each week.
Each episode highlights and addresses Islam, Christian and associated interreligious issues from the perspective of building and keeping the peace during and beyond the month of Ramadan. “Interfaith Forum” asks questions and gets behind the issues stories that underlying the religious challenges we all face as well as insights from the persons with the requisite knowledge and understanding. The episodes emphasise the position and/ or perspectives of the earliest Muslims and Christians on the thematic issues with appropriate authentic citations and quotations as needed from prominent scholars among the previous and contemporary scholars.
Notes on “Interfaith Forum” viewership
It is understood that the active provocateurs amongst our various faiths, are not likely to watch or listen to this series. However, the intent is to:
- Inoculate those in the populace who maybe considering aligning with provocateurs such as Boko Haram.
- Empower, with appropriate and correct knowledge, others who may have cause to directly or indirectly engage and dialogue with extremists.
- Provide platform for interfaith dialogue that the general public can participate in, as well as dispel dangerous rumours and misconceptions.
- This initiative is globally unprecedented, and we hope it will emerge as a “best practice” for peoples and nations in other parts of the world to adopt.
Follow-up to the “Interfaith Forum”
The recorded programs that emanate from “Interfaith Forum” are expected to serve as the basis for an interactive audio-visual online (and CD based) encyclopaedia that will help to dispel misunderstandings and build bridges by empowering people, some of whom may be functionally illiterate, with appropriate information to understand the position of their own, as well as other, religions on key as well as contentious religious issues. It will be all inclusive as plans are underway to provide access to the deaf and mute community through sign language and for the visually impaired through Braille. It is also expected that the “Interfaith Forum” will be complimented by the:
Public service announcements/ short jingles
Production of short jingles that use religious passages to dispel wrong messages about issues, such as jihad and crusade and shift public focus to the messages of peace. The jingles should enlighten the targeted Muslim and Christian population:
- The jingles should target the youth;
- They should be a collection of positive things they can achieve without terrorism and destructive reprisals line with Islamic and Christian teachings;
- They should have an uplifting feel using peace time footage and photographs;
- They should feature short bursts of quotes from the Qur’an and Hadith and Christian Scriptures;
- Mobile phone caller tunes and other forms of technology communication media will be deployed for reaching the youth
- To push the idea, it can also include reference to the fact that Western technological achievements are a product of Muslim and Christian discoveries and in many cases interreligious collaboration.
- Creation of multimedia cartoons with indigenous super-heroes that either reflect the thematic responses/ challenges or positively address challenges highlighted in the thematic areas. Comics and comic strips that cater to low literacy environments i.e. content that emphasise the visual and minimise the written, see “the 99” http://www.the99.org out of Kuwait and “Strika” http://www.strika.com out of South Africa.
- Leverage the equivalent of the “funnies” in local newspapers and magazines.
This will consist of short interviews of Nigerians and airing of their views on interfaith issues.
- Air the video “Jihad and Terrorism” in segments.
- Local language and community-based broadcasts, various interview programs and public debate/ roundtable activities;
- Audio and video podcasts of segments that can be transferred via Bluetooth;
- Inclusion of the thematic issues in indigenous movies and television serials. This will be achieved, by doing the following:
- Working with indigenous scriptwriters, especially in northern Nigeria (Kannywood – Kano film industry hub), so as to include the thematic issues as movie sub-plots.
- Embed thematic based sub-plots in popular indigenous television and radio “soap operas” such as “Super-Story” on TV and “Story Story – Voices from the market” on Radio.
- Making Movies and Television series starting with the adaptation of the following manuscripts:
- “Aminu’s Story” the true experiences of a young man who was formerly a member of the group colloquially known as Boko Haram, particularly how he was recruited and how he left the sect.
- “Musa the Almajiri” this movie by Dr. Aliyu Tilde will kick-start an orchestrated campaign to tackle the menace of street children who are ready fodder for the terrorist groups.
- Internet-based outlets including but not limited to blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media webcasting as well as Short-Messaging-Services (SMS) and emerging mobile services.
- Stimulation of political discourse as well as educational and public debates as well as activities that shape the grass root public’s expectation of safety and demonstrates that such expectations are being addressed.
Click on any of the episodes below to watch the InterFaith Forum
Episode 2: The faith-based rationale for interfaith relationship building through dialogue Part 1
Episode 3: The faith-based rationale for interfaith relationship building through dialogue Part 2
Episode 6: Potentials of Interfaith Action for Peace
Episode 7: The role and importance of places of worship in Islam and Christianity
Episode 9: Getting involved Guidelines for successful interfaith engagements
Episode 10: Are Muslims allowed into Churches/ Christians allowed into Masjids (Mosques)?
Episode 14: Role of places of worship in interfaith relationship building
Episode 18: The Golden Rule and religious ideals Part 1
Episode 19: The Golden Rule and religious ideals Part 2
Episode 22: How do we find common ground?
Episode 24: The importance of Protecting Human Rights and Justice
Episode 26: Religious ideals and the Reality of InterFaith Relations
Episode 29: Names and attributes of God
Episode 51: The Existence of the Hereafter
Episode 75: The Concept of Worship and Serving God