The maiden national dialogue of Muslim and Catholic Leaders has been held in Accra with a call on leaders to promote religious tolerance, peace and stability in the country.
The programme, organised by the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC)in collaboration with the Office of the National Chief Imam, was aimed at deepening relationship between Christians and Muslims in Ghana and find better ways of building upon the relationship.
In attendance were the president of the GCBC, Most Reverend Philip Naameh, National Chief Imam, Sheikh Dr Osman Nuhu Sharubutu; leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission Ghana, Maulvi Mohammed Bin Salih; Christian and Muslim clergy and other religious organisation.
Most Rev.Naameh in his remarks stated that the maiden meeting between the two religious groups was historic.
He said religion was gradually creating tension in the world, adding that such dialogue was crucial to promoting peace and stability.
The president stated that National Chief Imam, an epitome of unity and peace,had played a crucial role in the development of the country.
For his part, Sheikh Sharubutu said there was the need to create a platform to promote peace and stability between Christians and Muslims.
He said the meeting was crucial to promoting national peace, stability and development and called on the two faiths to maintain cordial relationship.
The National Chief Imam expressed sadness where in the name of religion people kill and cause violence.
He assured of Muslim leaders’ collaboration with the Christian leaders to promote peace and stability in the country, adding that both Muslims and Christians had their differences, but they should accommodate and tolerate each other.
“We should reflect as a country, we are living in peace and harmony as Christians and Muslims just by the grace and favour of God, let us reflect and see what is happening around us,”he added.
The Chief Director of the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Mr Benjamin Afful, in a statement said religious bodies had always been opened in the provision of essential elements of our development needs, health, education and agriculture.
He said the issue of tolerance should be a key and feature in some prominence.
Mr Afful said Christian and Muslim dialogue was important in national discourse of rediscovering ourselves and renewing our minds and attitudes for our encompassing development.
The Executive Director of Sanneh Institute, Professor John Azumah, in a presentation on Christian perspective on the topic “The need for dialogue in light of interfaith diversity” stressed the need to promote dialogue between Christians and Muslims since they constitute the majority.
He said if the two faiths did not get along, there will not be peace in the world, adding that it behooves Christians and Muslims to work together to ensure peace and stability in the world.
“We are all one people, we worship one God, we are all children of Abraham, all teachings of both side tells us to promote peace,”he added
Prof. Azumah called on Muslims and Christians to protect the religion through dialogue.
He stressed the need for the two faiths to address the extremists in their midst.
A Member of the National Peace Council, Chief, Sheikh Salaman Mohammed Alhassan, in a presentation on Muslim perspective on the topic “The need for dialogue in the light of interfaith diversity” stated that to improve on the community Christians and Muslims have to work together.
“We should compete in good deeds thus helping the community through alms giving and seek the development of our communities,” he added
Sheikh Alhassan who is also the Chief Imam of Madina West and Environs said “With continuous dialogue we would be able to prevent evil and attract good,”he added.
BY ANITA NYARKO-YIRENKYI