Although it was highly applauded by Ghanaians and the international community, the visit of the Ghana’s National Chief Imam to the Christ the King Catholic Church in Accra on Easter Sunday, has attracted criticism from a section of Muslims.
According to the critics, the chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, acted improperly by participating in mass, and visiting the church on Easter Sunday during which the ascension of Christ is celebrated.
Easter is one of the Christian beliefs not recognized in Islam.
The critics, who mostly expressed their misgivings on social media, were not comfortable with the perception created by reports that the Chief Imam has worshipped in a church.
But the Office of the National Chief Imam, who visited the church as part of activities to mark his 100th birthday, says the visit was only a symbolic gesture of friendship to solidify the existing inter-religious peace that Ghana enjoys.
Sheikh Aremeyaw Shuaib, Spokesperson for the Chief Imam, maintains that the Islamic spiritual leader was not in the church to worship or observe Easter.
He said it would be wrong to say the Chief Imam “went to worship in the church.”
“As an icon of interfaith dialogue, interfaith harmony, interfaith friendship, he decided to stretch a hand of friendship to a church. That is a symbolic gesture to send a certain strong message for the possibility of Muslims and Christians to live in peace on the foundation of mutual respect, mutual cooperation and mutual solidarity,” he noted.
The National Chief Imam in a symbolic gesture on Easter Sunday joined the congregation at Christ the King Parish in Accra.
Sheik Nuhu Sharubutu and his delegation were warmly welcomed by the presiding priest Rev. Father Andrew Campbell with a bouquet before they were ushered into the Church.
Rev. Andrew Campbell described the visit to the church, as indicative of the peaceful co-existence between Christians and Muslims.
The visit is a reciprocal gesture to deepen religious tolerance following similar gestures to the Chief Imam by Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckle, former Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra.
By Edmund Mingle/www.adrdaily.com