Bishop Callistus Onaga
of Enugu in the southeastern region of Nigeria laid out the qualities of effective dialogue as a means to prevent violent conflict in a recent visit to the headquarters of the charity Aid to the Church in Need in Frankfurt, Germany.
"The precondition is that life must be seen as a gift of God and the other person respected, as the image of God, the image of Allah, and not as an enemy or an unbeliever," Bishop Onaga said. The principle of violence, according to which anyone who kills, or is killed by, an unbeliever goes to Paradise, must be broken through, he insisted.
Access to education is essential, he believes, for there are a number of tribal peoples who have almost no education other than a knowledge of the Koran. "Nigeria is an immense country, with hundreds of different languages, a real melting pot, like the United States," he added. Yet, if the other person is not excluded but rather acknowledged, then peaceful coexistence is still possible, he believes.
I'm sure the good bishop did not mean this, but he seemed to be saying that martyrdom is part of the larger principle of violence.