Religious bodies told to use dialogue to resolve disputes

The Chairman of the National Peace Council (NPC), the Reverend Professor Emmanuel Asante, has stressed the need for religious groups to use dialogue instead of violence in resolving disputes.

Dialogue, he said, should always be considered as the best alternative in settling religious disputes, while promoting peace and co-existence among religions.

Speaking at a conference on peaceful co-existence by the Ghana-Turkey Co-operation and Development Association (TUDEC) and NPC, which attracted both Christians and Muslims, the Rev. Prof. Asante said it is commonplace for religious sects to disagree on doctrines and other matters, but such disagreements should not form the basis for clashes and tensions.

The conference brought together leaders of the various religious groups in the country, as well as some scholars from Nigeria, Turkey and the United States (US) to speak on love and tolerance.

It was on the theme, ‘Love and tolerance: Peaceful co-existence in diversity’.

Rev. Prof. Asante reminded other peace actors of their responsibility in ensuring the sustenance of peace in the country, and called on religious leaders to create platforms from which grievances emanating from religious disagreement could be settled.

Stakeholders in peace, according to him, should not be complacent in their efforts to sustain the peaceful co-existence among ethnic, religious and political groups.

The National Chief Imam, Sheikh Nuhu Sharubutu, emphasised the need for Ghanaians to eschew social vices and be morally disciplined, saying God through religion, had given rules by which people should co-exist, hence Ghanaians should strictly abide by those rules.

The Archbishop of the Accra Diocese of the Catholic Church, the Most Reverend Charles Palmer Buckle, prayed for the strengthening of love and tolerance among religious groups.

He recalled his visit to Israel some years ago, where he saw Jews and Moslems struggling to co-exist in one country and, therefore, realised the need for Ghanaians to be always thankful for the peace of the nation.

He said the country had come too far to allow ethnicity, politics and religion to divide its people, adding “we should place the peace of our country ahead of our personal interests”.

The Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Accra, the Rev. Dr. Daniel Sylvanus Torto, observed that the continuous clashes among some religious groups was as a result of intolerance.

He expressed concern about people hiding behind religion and politics to commit atrocities against humanity, saying “such practices should stop.”

The Director of Catholic-Moslem Studies at the Catholic Theological Union in the US, Prof. Scott Alexander, was hopeful that people would be more loving, tolerating and peace seeking when they are better educated on the subject.

According to him, education remains a key component in promoting peaceful co-existence among religious sects.

By Charles Amankwa

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