On Sunday, 19th May 2019, Madina Northern Outreach Programme (NOP), a Congregation under the Madina District of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) organised an Interfaith Dialogue Session with Sheikh Alhassan Abdur-Rahim Husein, a respected Islamic Cleric and a lecturer with the University of Ghana, Legon. The session was held, as part of the Congregation’s Interfaith Dialogue Series, under the aegis of the Committee on Ecumenical and Social Relations. Sheikh Husein led the Congregation through preselected topics, namely: historical linkages between the two faiths, Halal (clean) foods and interpersonal relationships, among others. The dialogue addressed circumstances under which a Muslim may reject foods (especially meat and meat products) not prepared under Islamic Halal conditions, the Islamic concept of interfaith marriage and the significance of veiling by female Muslims. It also brought up historical associations between the two faiths – the reported invitation by Prophet Muhammed to the Christians of Najran to pray to God in his mosque and also the instructions by Prophet Muhammed to some Muslims in Makkah to seek protection in Abyssinia (modern day Ethiopia), then ruled by a reportedly fair and just king called Negus.
Sheikh Husein encouraged all gathered to guard the peace and seamless rapport we enjoy between people of diverse faiths, particularly because other countries were beset with protracted interfaith tension and conflict. In attendance was the Agent-in-Charge of the Congregation, Catechist Norbert Ayaamo; Rev Timothy Bawa, a retired PCG Minister, Mr. Emmanuel Frimpong Sakyi, the Chairperson of the Madina District Committee on Ecumenical and Social Relations, including members of the Congregational session. Speaking on the sidelines of the programme, Mrs. Sylvia Apeadu (Chairperson of the Congregational Committee on ESR) thanked her Committee members and the Congregational Session for their efforts towards organising the programme. She said that, Congregants interact with Muslims on a daily basis – at home, workplaces, in the markets, in public places – hence it was important to know the basic dos and don’ts regarding the Islamic faith. She added that the programme was largely influenced by her Committee’s training with the Presbyterian Interfaith Research and Resource Centre (PIRRC). In concluding, she disclosed that the Interfaith Dialogue Series was part of activities to implement her Committee’s aspect of the Madina NOP five-year Strategic Plan (2019 to 2023) being coordinated by the Madina District Strategic Planning Committee.