A former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams has called on Christians and Muslims to build trust to ensure peaceful co-existence among them.
According to him, the religious conflict between the two religions was due to lack of trust among the people who profess those two religions.
Dr Williams, made the call at the inaugural lectures, of The Sanneh Institute under the Department of Religions of the University of Ghana at the weekend, which formed part of activities, marking the establishment of the institute was on the theme, ‘Territoriality and hospitality: Christians and Muslims sharing common space.
The Sanneh Institute has been established by the University of Ghana, in honour of Professor Lamin Sanneh, a Gambian and one of Africa’s most distinguished academic icon and expert in Christian and Islamic studies, who lectured at the University of Ghana in the mid 70s.
Dr Williams said Christianity and Islam which were universal religions would continue to pose problems for the world and there was the need for believers of those religions to trust and tolerate each other.
Dr Williams said both Christians and Muslims believe God created human being in his own image, in that sense Christians and Muslims should see each other as God’s creature and should treat each other well.
Professor Farid Esack, a lecturer at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa, for his part said Christians and Muslims must open to each other, stressing that “their survival depended on the survival of the other”.
Prof Esack said the description of a nation as Christian or Muslim country was not the best, stressing that, “A nation must create space for all including minority populations.”
The Executive Director of the Sanneh Institute, Prof John Azumah said The Institute, will among others, promote research on religion and scholarly studies on the two major religions and foster dialogue and unity among the adherents of the two religions.
“The task ahead concerns how Muslims and Christians can unite to initiate a long-range trend in which they do not hinder development and change but inspire and shape the forces of peace and progress by our willingness to learn with and from each other,” he said.
The National Chairman of the Ghana Muslim Mission, Dr Sheik Amin Bonsu said the formation of The Sanneh Institute for Christian and Islamic studies was very laudable.
He said both Christian and Muslims worshipped a supreme being and must live peacefully together and pledged that he would donate a book he had written and titled ‘Jesus and Mohammed are Brothers in Islam’ to the Institute.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof Ebenezer Oduro Owusu in remarks made on his behalf by the Provost of the College of Humanities of the University of Ghana, Prof Samuel Adjei-Mensah, said the University of Ghana was excited by the establishment of the Sanneh Institute.
He pledged the university’s support to the Institute to promote research in Christian and Muslim religions.
By Kingsley Asare