Don’t Marginalize Minor Religious Groupings – Prof Farid

Professor Farid Esack, Muslim Theologian, University of Johannesburg, at the weekend called on governments not to marginalise smaller religious groupings in their to help promote peace.

He said it saddened him to hear some nations call themselves Christian or Muslim because such stands marginalised persons of minor religious groupings within the nation.

God is indeed not limited by territorial jurisdiction; “God is not a Ghana God or Nigeria God but a universal God,” he stated at the inauguration lecture of The Sanneh Institute (TSI) in Accra.

The inaugural lecture was on the theme; “Territoriality and Hospitality: Christians and Muslims sharing Common Space”.

Prof Esack explained that, the religious salutation; “Peace be unto you,” was common to both faiths– Christian and Muslim, this is a demonstration and affirmation of universality of God; “God must not be reduce into the Church, the Temple or the Mosque”.

Dr Rowan Williams, the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury speaking on the theme, said all Christians and Muslims should be hospitable toward each other.

He said it was not right to allow religious believes build boundaries between them, because God is universal and not territorial; “We are all guests sharing in his divine grace and love”.

He said both faiths referred to a God of universality being the creator who created all in His divine image, adding, “it was expected that Christians and Muslims would open their doors to receive each other and not be imprisoned within their religious space. Receive each other as Christ has received you”.

He said the world in recent times was faced with more displaced persons who desperately needed hospitality.

Prof. John Azumah, Executive Director, TSI, said the newly established research institute would be housed at the University of Ghana to work in close collaboration with the Department for the Study of Religions.

He said it was dedicated to equip and resource religious leaders, theological students, young academics, academic institutions, policy makers and the wider African society through advanced research into, and engagement with, issues at the intersections of religion and society in Africa.

He said the institute was named after the late Prof Lamin Sanneh, a native of the Gambia, who taught at the University of Ghana in the mid-1970s, in recognition of his distinguished contribution to scholarship in the missions and histories of Islam and Christianity in Africa.

Prof. Sanneh was the D. Willis James Professor of Missions and World Christianity at Yale Divinity School and a Professor of History at the Yale University, New Haven, USA, who worked all his life to bridge the gap between Muslims and Christians across the globe.

Ghana News Agency