The National Chief Imam Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu last Sunday made a rare and spectacular appearance at the Christ The King Catholic Church, Accra as part of his 100th birthday.
Accompanied by a large entourage of top clerics and leading figures in the Islamic community, the visit went viral within minutes as the images were being posted particularly on social media.
DAILY GUIDE has learnt that President Akufo-Addo was also excited about the gesture which observers say is worthy of emulation in countries where cross-faith harmony is not a feature.
For a man whose peace overtures have earned for him a cross-faith reverence, the visit to Christ The King on an Easter Sunday augmented an already existing deference which found space on BBC’s African programme – Focus On Africa – with Audrey Brown who described it as a ‘light in the dark.’
The Chief Imam was received on arrival by the Parish Priest, Rev. Father Andrew Campbell, who led the congregation to sing a happy birthday song to his guest.
A narration of the arrival by a member of the church, a certain Maya Musi Jata said it all about the excitement which greeted the cleric, as he set foot on the threshold of the church before the appointed time of 8am.
The congregation, as if the arrival had been rehearsed, commenced a ‘Happy Birthday’ song, as a supporting organ in the background provided the sweet notes in an appropriate pitch.
“He was supposed to arrive by 8am according to the programme, but he was there before 8am. I was excited about that. He was welcomed to the church by Rev Fr Campbell who told us that the Chief Imam was turning 100 and wanted to come celebrate with us,” Musi Jata told Audrey Brown.
The lady expressed happiness with the cleric’s position that God does not say that “we should fight those who do not belong to our faiths. There was a lot of encouragement for the cleric as he spoke. We are the same people and so should co-exist harmoniously. Let others outside Ghana emulate this gesture.”
Her admonition comes on the heels of an attack on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka in which scores of Christians lost their lives on Sunday.
How It Started
Cecil Garbrah, an official of the church, said “it all started with a call on Wednesday by a member of the Chief Imam’s team that the cleric wants to meet the Reverends and the congregation to mark his 100 years which is on Tuesday (today). I contacted the elders of the church and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Accra. We were excited that the Chief Imam was visiting us. If there is a red carpet let us lay it for him. We donated a pair of footwear, the kind worn by Muslims and he made a cash donation to the church.”
Mr. Garbrah spoke about a reciprocal visit to the mosque and how football matches, among other social activities, can enhance inter-faith harmony.
The Chief Imam, he told BBC, bemoaned the developments which have taken place across the world in which people have lost their lives.
Many social media users who spotted the Chief Imam at the church said the move inures to the harmonious co-existence among members of the two great faiths in Ghana.