When a gang of thugs savagely vandalized Rev. Isaac Owusu-Bempah’s Glorious Word Ministries International Chapel at Odorkor, in Western Greater-Accra Region, a couple of days ago, and the pack of hoodlums were widely reported by the media to have come from the Muslim community, the first thought that flashed across my mind was the possibility of this most “irreligious” act of wanton desecration’s significantly and negatively impacting the political prospects of Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia for the Presidency, Divine Providence willing, come December 2024 or thereabouts. I was also wondering what the former Deputy-Governor of the Bank of Ghana would have to say about this most disturbing matter. Fortunately, and quite predictably, ever the astute Akufo-Addo understudy, Vice-President Bawumia seized the landmark occasion of the 87th Annual National Convention of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission of Ghana to, once again, affirm the validity of his statesmanship.
I generally found his attempt at peace-brokering to be smack on point, although I would have been even happier if Alhaji Bawumia had skillfully and poignantly homed in on the fact that there was an imperative need for Ghanaian Muslims, especially our Muslim youths, to thoroughly disabuse the minds of the country’s Christian majority that casting the ballot for the presidential election of a Muslim candidate would not further embolden these increasingly rowdy and riotous Muslim youths to create more mayhem and seriously undermine the peaceful coexistence that has prevailed between Ghanaian Christians and Muslims ever since anybody could remember. You see, as Christians, we often look at the wanton radical Muslim-generated violence in Muslim-majority countries like Nigeria and wonder whether it is a good idea to have Islam-professing politicians like Alhaji Bawumia being elected to the enormously powerful position of the Presidency of our august Democratic Republic of Ghana.
Of course, in a remarkably peaceful Muslim-majority country like Senegal, we have had a Roman-Catholic Christian like Dr. Leopold Sédar Senghor rule as an elected despot for 20 years with massive electoral support. But this example seems to be more of the exception than the norm. In his keynote address to the conferees at the 87th Annual National Convention of the Ahmadiyya Mission in the township of Pomadze, in the Central Region, the Vice-President reminded his fellow Muslims of an edict issued by the Founding-Father of the Islamic faith, The Prophet Muhammad, that Christians were the closest relatives and allies of Muslims in all things. But I also know that while, indeed, there have been a lot of intermarriages between Ghanaian Christians and Muslims, nevertheless, when it comes to Christian men seeking the hands of Muslim women in marriage, there often tends to be a dictatorial tendency on the part of the Muslim fathers of the daughters being given away in marriage to their Christian male suitors, which often demands Islamic conversion on the part of the Christianity-professing suitors or husbands-to-be as a peremptory precondition.
What I am clearly suggesting here is that both the leaders of the Christian and Muslim communities need to open up a serious dialogue on the intermarriage or conjugal front, whereby it becomes possible for Christian men who opt for marriage with their Islam-professing would-be-wives would be able to keep their Christian principles and faith without being forced to compromise their Christian faith or forcibly convert to the faith of their prospective Muslim wives. You see, I am looking at this issue from the standpoint of denominational ecumenism, rather than from a moral standpoint that envisages these two Judeo-Christian religious ideologies as totally separate entities. I strongly believe that if both Ghanaian Christians and Muslims can reach such a practically organic understanding of our religious practices, we shall all be the better humans and more enlightened, mutually respectful and peaceful towards one another.
As well, the “imperialistic” practice whereby the issue or offspring that result from Christo-Islamic marriages are coopted into the “Islamic Brotherhood” and sisterhood, for that matter, may also need to be seriously reviewed and progressively and constructively reconfigured. You see, we need to get well beyond such frivolous platitudes as The Prophet’s age-old enjoinment of peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims in order to frontally face up to the realities of our modern world, the inescapable monistic recognition of our inextricably organic unity within the apparently superficial existence of our diversity or differences.
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