The Vice President of the Republic, Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has called for increased acceptance of the many divergent religions in the country to safeguard the peace Ghana enjoys.
In particular, Vice President Bawumia is calling for greater tolerance and acceptance between the two largest religions in the country, Christianity and Islam, pointing out that the beliefs of the two religions have more similarities than differences.
“In fact many people don’t realise that between Muslims and Christians there’s actually more that unites us than divides us,” Vice President Bawumia noted at a special lecture organized to celebrate the 100th birthday of the National Chief Imam, His Eminence Sheikh Dr Osman Nuhu Sharabutu in Accra on Tuesday, April 23, 2019.
“We worship the same God, Allah, the same God. The God of Abraham, the God of Moses, the God of Isaac, the God of David; the same God that we all worship. We all believe in the virgin birth of Jesus. We both believe that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary. We revere Mary so much that she’s the only female who is mentioned directly by name in the Quran; the only female, and you have a whole chapter in the Qur’an, Suratul Mariam, which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
“Indeed, there are more mentions of Mary in the Holy Quran than in the whole New Testament.”
Vice President Bawumia continued:
“We all believe in the miracles of Jesus Christ. We believe as Muslims he talked when he was in the cradle. We believe the miracles he performed to give sight to the blind and so on. And as Muslims and Christians we all believe that Jesus will come back before the day of judgement, to defeat the false prophet or the anti-Christ. We all share that common belief as Muslims and Christians.
“But what is also more important is that the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) told all of us as Muslims that amongst all the faiths that we have, we as Muslims should be closest to the Christians. That is what he told us, that we as Muslims should be closest to the Christians, because they are good people. So today, if you are a Muslim and you say you don’t like Christians it means you don’t understand Islam. And if you are a Christian and you say you don’t like Muslims then you don’t understand Christianity.”
Vice President Bawumia warned against religious extremism arising from a misinterpretation of religions, saying deviants and anti-social elements take advantage of such postures to perpetrate crime.
“There is more that unites us, the two religions, than divides us. But we allow people like the terrorists to hide under the cloak of religion to try to divide us. But we in Ghana, we are lucky. We are lucky we have people like Sheikh Dr Osman Nuhu Sharabutu to continue teaching us the right way.
“Our colleagues from other countries are often astounded by the level of religious tolerance in Ghana. Our answer to them is simple: we have a National Chief Imam who is extremely knowledgeable, but also humble and a champion of inter-faith dialogue and peace. We also tell them we have Christian leaders who are receptive to the National Chief Imam’s gesture of respect to the Christian Community.
“As Muslims and Christians, let us not take the freedom and peace we enjoy for granted. They were achieved through the concerted efforts of noble men like Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu and the Christian leaders we have in the country. At our various levels, let us emulate this beautiful example of humility, compassion and tolerance exhibited by the National Chief Imam” the Vice President advised.