The National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu has dispelled concerns by a section of the public, especially Muslims, who have spoken against his fellowship with Christians during the Easter Sunday on April 21.
In a historic move, the Chief Imam surprised many when he visited the Christ the King Catholic Church in Accra, during church service and stayed throughout the service.
Many were those who lauded the gesture and applauded the Chief Imam for promoting inter-faith relations in a country seen as a beacon of peace.
However, his critics argued that as the head of a religious body with a belief which in part is averse to that of Christendom, it was a no, no for him to have made that move. And the idea that he worshipped with Christians on an occasion Islamic faith does not subscribe to, was the straw that broke the back of the camel.
But in a rare interview with TV3’s Johnnie Hughes on Thursday, April 25, in his New Fadama residence in Accra, the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Nuhu Sharubutu clarified his action.
“No, I didn’t go there to worship, it was a visit of friendship. Stretching a hand of friendship across the religious divide, and to show in a very radical way, that living at peace with practitioners of other faith is a possibility and this has sent a strong signal to the world,” he pointed out through an interpreter Sheikh Aremeyaw Shaibu.
The Chief Imam made reference to Qur’an Chapter 60 versus 8 and 9, which entreats Muslims to live justly and peacefully with persons of other faith who do not persecute them because of their Islamic belief.
He said he was also influenced by other text in the scripture that refers to all mankind as created by God through Adam and Eve into diverse cultures and tribes not to fight but to live in peace.
“This is the foundation of my relationship with practitioners of other faith. I am encouraged by this text to stretch a hand of fellowship…in the larger interest of society and humanity,” Sheikh Nuhu Sharubutu emphasised.
The National Chief Imam who turned 100 on April 23 has over the years been a symbol of peace and in the words of Ghana’s former president, Jerry John Rawlings, “You hardly speak but when you speak, it evokes only wisdom“.