Zimbabwe Christians and
Muslims seek cooperation
Ecumenical News International
HARARE | Different religions in Zimbabwe
should co-operate to become "the voice of the voiceless" in
the country, a Zimbabwe inter-faith gathering has been told.
The call was made by a University of Zimbabwe
lecturer, Ezra Chitando, at an interfaith dialogue seminar between Christians
and Muslims recently held in the city of Kwekwe, south-west of Harare,
In his speech about the religious situation in
Zimbabwe, Mr. Chitando said that dialogue and cooperation was needed
between Christians, Muslims, practitioners of African traditional religions,
Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and new religious movements, if religion was to
make a positive impact on people.
"Different religions in the country should
cooperate," Mr. Chitando told more than 100 Christians and Muslims
who attended the meeting, according to the Ecumenical Documentation and
Information Center for Eastern and Southern Africa (EDICESA), one of
the organizers of the meeting.
"Religions of Zimbabwe may become the voice
of the voiceless, if only they can cooperate," according to Mr.
Chitando, who noted that Islam, had grown from being a tolerated minority
to a significant force in Zimbabwe.
Mr. Chitando said that there were 1.2 million
Muslims in Zimbabwe.
Other estimates put the figure at 200,000 Muslims.
According to the SBS World Guide, published in Australia, approximately
50 percent of Zimbabwe's population of 10 million people follow mixed
Christian and traditional beliefs, 25 percent profess Christianity alone,
24 percent follow indigenous beliefs, and there is a "small Muslim
Earlier this year Zimbabwe hosted the 4th meeting
of the World Islamic Call Society of East, Central and Southern Africa.
The meeting was opened by vice-president Simon Muzenda.
The seminar was organized by EDICESA and the Zimbabwe
Islamic Mission. It sought to find ways to enable Christians, Muslims
and other religions to be united in their diverse religions and cultures
and to explore ways of working together to serve "all the people
of God in Zimbabwe."
Addressing the seminar, the chairman of the Zimbabwe
Islamic Mission, Professor Adam Makda called on Zimbabweans to live a
life of "purity and goodness" so that peace might continue to
prevail in the country.
"These two universal faiths based on the
word of God Almighty have great potential in leading our respective followers
in becoming disciplined, faithful and patriotic citizens to build a dynamic
new nation of dedicated believers in God Almighty," he said.
The Kwekwe seminar was told of the need to address
serious challenges facing the nation such as corruption at all levels
of society, HIV/Aids, which is currently killing up to 700 people per
week and the economic difficulties, the country is going through.
The secretary general of the Zimbabwe Students
Christian Movement (ZSCM), Mandla Akhe Dube said that it was important
that Zimbabweans of different faiths did not seek to convert the other
party but rather sought to establish understanding based on mutual respect.
"Unity in diversity can naturally follow
from informed decisions," said Mr. Dube, who appealed to Christians
and Muslims to desist from judging each other's faith through the behavior
A local clergyman, the Rev. E.T.C. Ngadziore,
chairman of the Kwekwe Pastors' Fraternal, said: "I think this is
the best meeting that we have ever held here and I think it has opened
our minds, especially with the understanding that there is a lot we can
share with the Muslims."
"Interact" with us!
Feel free to comment on this article or sign our guest book.