CHRISTIANS and Muslims need to have a better knowledge of each other in order to foster a better relationship, a Vatican official has said.
Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments and guest speaker at a church ceremony in Abuja on June 19, said the need to promote better Christian-Muslim relations was urgent.
His advice came on the heels of the ongoing ethnoreligious clashes in some parts of Nigeria in recent weeks. “Christians and Muslims can inform one another about their religion. After all, both religions have common areas of beliefs in God, death, judgment, heaven, hell, the roles of the prophets,” said Cardinal Arinze, former head of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
He challenged the leaders and followers of both religions to “sincerely and honestly ask themselves the kind of relationship they desire,” taking into account that Christians and Muslims are more than half of the world’s population. The Cardinal said quite often tensions between the two religions are fuelled by politicians looking to manipulate the situation for personal gain. “The manipulation of religion by politicians has been responsible for many needless crises that have bedeviled some countries of the world,” the Cardinal said.
“What people kill others for in the name of religion has nothing to do with religion. Most of the time, the roots of the crisis started with people fighting over land.”