Malawi:Christians – Muslims improve relations for peace and development
He told a gathering of women and church and islamic readers at Dumisani Motel in the tobacco growing municipality of Kasungu, that it was unfortunate that in other countries people were killing in the name of ‘protecting their God’.
“Should one kill and believe that he shall enter the kingdom of God for such an action, then he is wrong because God will send him straight to hell. God will assk, why did you kill that what I created? It is up to God to judge and not us as humans.
“We are far too small to be fighting to protect God, who is more powerful and devine than humans. Leave judgement to God and coexist amongst the two religions, embracing each others’ differences as we go,” he advised.
Procmura, which stands for the Programme for Christian – Muslim Relations in Africa, was established way back in the 1970s around when most of the African countries were to become independent. In Malawi, the Christian organisation’s work, whose main objective is to extend a hand to the Muslim faith towards God’s kingdom, started in 1970.
Speaking at the same function, which was split in two to accomodate women from the two faiths for a day, concentrating also on the importance and role of women in Christian – Musliam relations, and the last two days for men vrom the two religions, General Secretary for the Malawi Council of Churches (MCC), convenor of the event, Reverend Dr. Osborne Joda-Mbewe, said it was time Christians and Moslems buried the hatchet and started to plan and work together.
“We experience a lot of conflict because of our inability to realise the differences we have as faithfuls, and embrace them to the benefit of both faiths and their communities. We must come together and forge a meaningful discourse particulalry that it is easy to provoke a large scale conflict when Christians and Moslems provoke each other.
Dr. Mbillah, gave examples in Nigeria and Ghana where religion has been a cause for conflict.
“There is no discrimination on the basis of being Christian of Muslim. Christians must proclaim their faith without insulting or saying anything bad about Islam or any other religion, Muslims must also do the same. Let the two peacefully talk about the goodness of their faiths without provoking or competing with each other.
“Both the Holy Bible and the Qur’an seek that we live peacefully. Both teach and demand of us of true love and meaningful coexistence. We are God’s people and we need to start to understand how best Christianity and Islam can benefit both. This requires a sober approach to avoid
conflict and bloodshed,” he said.
Dr. Mbillah, the International Procmura Adviser, also challenged participants drawn from across the country, to ask themselves the question if they thought they were Malawian Christians and or Muslims, or if they were Christian or Muslim Malawians first.
“Ask yourselves these reflective questions and see if you are an African Christian or Moslem or a Christian or Muslim African. This is important because you will realize you are both either a Christian or a Muslim and again a Malawian or African. We have to live with both –therefore need for genuine tolerance.” he lectured.
Starting on Tuesday to Friday, the gathering also discussed Christian – Muslim relations; the human perspective, highlighting the massacres
in Nigeria, the case of the Danish cartoon on the Islamic prophet Mohammed that sparked global protests and riots perpetrated by Muslims, and the varying difficulties where politicians and governments, culture and beliefs, all contribute to causing either conflict or peace.
Participants include members from the three religious mother bodies of the Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM), Quadria Association of Malawi
(QMAM) and the hosts, Malawi Council of Churches.
As we went to press the meeting, which has attracted over 40 people, was expected to end with resolutions and a way forward.
“Am looking forward that both Procmura head office and the beneficiary religions herein Christians and Muslims will continue to forge ahead
with what is been taught here. We are committed to making the Procmura process an important tool for peace in Malawi.
“Soon we will have elections and that requires sober Christian – Muslim relations. We want people to go back and preach the good word,
that we are all God’s children and we can survive by coexisting and tolerating each others’ views and differences,” said Rev. Dr.Joda-Mbewe.
In Malawi, a predominantly Christian state, there is little to no blown conflicts between followers and leaders of the two faiths.