A prophesy of a controversial pastor predicting the death of Ghana’s National Chief Imam, ignited what can grow into a religious conflict if not addressed.
The impasse, which conflict resolution experts say has tested the country’s religious tolerance level, resulted in the group of muslim youths vandalizing the property of the pastor’s church on Wednesday.
They appeared to have been angered by the prophesy of Reverend Owusu Bempah, Leader of the Glorious Word and Power Ministries International, which has been widely condemned by Ghanaians, including the clergy and muslim clerics.
In his sermon at the December 31st vigil service, the controversial preacher mentioned the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Nuhu Sharabutu, as among the prominent Ghanaian religious and political leaders who would pass in 2019.
It is not the first time the preacher, notorious for predicting deaths, has announced such a death prophesy about leading figures, but the inclusion of the revered Islamic leader in his new year prophesy list, infuriated the youth.
While the comments of the pastor have been widely condemned, the action of the muslim youth has also been condemned, with the Chief Imam leading the call for calm and peaceful co-existence.
Shiekh Aremeyaw Shaibu, Spokesman for Chief Imam also urged religious leaders to desist from making statements that have the potential of disturbing public peace.
“Shiekh is also worried that Prophets such as Owusu Bempah should also be careful if they are compelled by the spirits to come and tell the world about someone’s death. If it will disturb the peace of the country, it is better they do not say it,” he added.
Currently, the police are guarding the premises of the Odorkor branch of the church which was attacked.
However, security analysts said the incident should be considered as a test for Ghana’s religious tolerance level.
According to David Agbee, Executive Director of Ghana Institute of Governance and Security (GIGS), there has to be continuous engagement among all the religious groups in the country to foster sustainable peace.
“Such incidents have led to widespread violence in other countries,” he said.
The incident, he said offers a good pointer for the government and civil society groups to continue to work towards enhancing religious tolerance in the country.
By Benjamin Nana Appiah/ www.adrdaily.com