The Imam and the Pastor

The Imam and the Pastor

An award-winning documentary film on Muslim-Christian relations

The Imam and the Pastor

Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye are religious leaders who live in Kaduna, a city in northern Nigeria. Today, they work together to teach warring religious youth militias to resolve their conflicts peacefully. But they did not start out as peacemakers. Not too long ago, Imam Ashafa and Pastor James were bitter enemies, determined to kill one another.

In 1992, violent interreligious conflict broke out in Kaduna State. Christians and Muslims fought each other in the marketplace, doing what they could to destroy each others’ homes, livlihoods, and families. Both the Imam and the Pastor were drawn into the fighting, and both paid a heavy price — Imam Ashafa lost of two brothers and his teacher, while Pastor James with lost his hand.

They each dreamed of revenge against the other. Nonetheless, as leaders in their communities, the two men reluctantly agreed to meet. Imam Ashafa recalls what happened: 'A mutual friend…took both of us by the hand and said, "The two of you can pull this nation together, or you can destroy it. Do something.”' Through the years , and through increasingly frequent meetings, the two men slowly built mutual respect and to bridge the divide between their communities.

Ashafa and Wuye’s story is featured in the documentary The Imam and the Pastor, produced by FLT Films and supported by the United States Institute of Peace. A 2010 follow-up documentary, An African Answer, chronicled their journey since and the reconciliation process approaches in neighboring Kenya.

Check out the film trailer on YouTube!