Tanzania: Inter-Religious Meetings Must Give Practical Solutions

Tanzania: Inter-Religious Meetings Must Give Practical Solutions

Jakaya-Mrisho-Kikwete1SEVERAL Christian clerics on Tuesday announced their support to the government on the proposed inter-religious meeting to be held at a later date.

The clerics declared their position during a meeting with President Jakaya Kikwete at the State House in Dar es Salaam, where they deliberated on unfolding religious tension in the country, largely pitting Muslims and Christians.

The president has of late repeatedly expressed his disappointment on the emerging threat to national concord and some ugly incidents that have tarnished the country’s good image as the haven of peace.

It is hoped that delegates to the proposed inter-religious meeting are going to discuss causes of the current situation and come up with practical solutions to this saddening scenario. Tanzanians have recently witnessed several disturbing developments including rising religious conflicts, reflected in the riotous ugly scenes in Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam.

There is a number of criminal cases pending in courts involving incitement, destruction of property including torching of churches, mosques and motor vehicles. At least two priests were murdered in circumstances where religious tension cannot be ruled out.

Many Tanzanians are now watching in disbelief as to what is going on in their motherland, where after several decades of peaceful co-existence between Muslims and Christians, they are now fighting each other on trivial issues like animal slaughtering rituals.

It is disgusting to learn about messages being circulated through mobile phones with the intent of arousing religious hatred and divide Tanzanians. The proposed meeting should be used as a national dialogue to deliberate on the situation and figure out what has gone wrong.

The country’s relevant authorities must flex its muscle in dealing with people bent to stir religious trouble in the land. The so-called religious fundamentalists belonging to a given denomination who attack other worshippers during public preaching sessions, should not be allowed to get away with it.

The Father of the Nation Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, at one time warned of the suicidal nature of religious conflict to a nation. At any cost this must not be allowed to happen in the country.

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