The Department of Ecumenical and Social Relations (ESR) of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Madina District has organized a Peace forum to renew the focus of the religious community on the essence for peaceful co-existence.
It was on the theme: “Religion as a Resource for Promoting Sustainable Peaceful Co-existence with people of other faith.”
The maiden peace forum to inspire people of different faith to live in harmony for national development towards the November 7 polls was held in collaboration with the Madina Muslim Community.
It was marked by series of presentations by distinguished Clerics in the Christian and Muslim communities along with experts in the field of interfaithism.
Speaking at the forum in Accra, Reverend Samuel Odjelua, National Director, ESR said it is incumbent on all adherents of all the predominant religious traditions in the country to make conscious efforts, to promote and sustain peaceful co-existence, especially in the age where there is an increase in extremism and fundamentalism in religious circles.
He said peaceful co-existence requires mutual understanding among the followers of the three religions in Ghana; Christianity, Islam and Traditional, this entails learning about each other’s faith, and dialogue could pave way for achieving this objective.
He said constructive dialogues between Christians and Muslims could build bridges of mutual respect based on clear understanding of one’s religion and the religion of others.
He said through dialogue and cooperation Christians and Muslims could discover their common principles and values, and renew their joint commitment to them.
Adding, he stated, “the experience of dialogue should be brought into everyday life of believing communities, wherever they may be.’’
Rev Michael G Anim-Tetey, Madina District Minister said “we must see ourselves as peace ambassadors of our faiths to ensure that whatever our political orientation we see each other as brother and sisters practising our God given rights”.
“If this is done, a better understanding will be key to our relationship with each other. Then, only, will we proudly claim that we have used our religion as a tool to promote sustainable peaceful co-existence with people of other faith,’’ he said.
Rev Dr Brandford Yeboah, Lecturer, University of Ghana identified humility, commitment, interconnection, empathy and hospitality as preconditions for meaningful interfaith dialogue.
Sheikh Larry Awal, Leader of the Mamobi Muslim Community noted that Islam is a peaceful religion and so abhors any act of violence.
He said the Holy Quran does not permit Muslims to treat with injustice even such enemies as had committed aggression on them.
He condemned recent attacks of violence by acclaimed Muslim groups observing that those assemblies are “un-Islamic” but practices of the Arabian culture.
Sheikh Awal urged the Muslims youth to live above reproach and complement peace before during and after this year’s elections.
He encouraged Muslim Imams to preach to the world that the violence practiced by those groups is not Islam.