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24.06.2004 Regional News

First W/African Summit of the Inter-Faith Action ends at Ho

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Ho, June 24, GNA - Inter-Religious Faith collaboration in Africa is to be strengthened and harnessed to mediate in conflicts on the continent, Reverend Dr. Nathan Samwini, Director of Programmes, Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) said on Tuesday.

He was addressing the media on the essence and objectives of the first West African Regional Summit of the Inter-Faith Action for Peace in Africa held in Ho.

Rev. Dr. Samwini who is coordinating the summit said the strategy planned was for inter-faith delegates in various countries to initiate peace moves in the event of conflict in their countries and then raise the issue at the sub-regional and continental levels for adoption and follow-up.

Representatives from 12 African countries including Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Cameroon, Guinea, Gambia, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mauritania and two European countries, Finland and Switzerland participated in the summit, which was under the aegis of the Lutheran World Federation.

Among the 56 representatives at the summit, which was under the theme " Co-Existence-the Key to Peace in Africa", were Christians, Voodoo Worshipers, Muslims and Baha'i Faith.

Rev. Dr. Samwini said the summit was to emphasise and make functional, religious basis for pursuing peace on the continent through the use of dialogue and advocacy.

He said the summit would also discuss the practice of some religious leaders hoodwinking people into following them only to be milked for their gratuitous needs.

Rev. Dr. Samwini said the idea of Inter-Faith collaboration to promote peace in Africa was embraced at the October 2002 Johannesburg, South Africa summit of seven religious faiths, where Africa was demarcated into zones for similar summits.

Mr Peter Prove, representing the Lutheran World Federation, was of the opinion that, religious leaders need not wait for affirmation of political leaders before sending peace overtures to sides in conflicts. Mr Noel Okoth, Media Co-ordinator said Inter-Faith initiative in the conflict between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria had been helpful. He called on the media to make the issue of inter-faith contribution to peace in Africa extend beyond one spot reports to a continual matter of discussion.

On politics in Africa, Mr Sarky K Konneh, representing Liberia said, instead of regarding politics as a science, some people think of it as a game of trickery. 24 June 04

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