It was a miracle. Ghana’s National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharabutu, took the nation by storm and shocked almost everybody, including Muslims and Christians, when he showed up on Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019, at the Christ The King Catholic Church in Accra to celebrate mass with brethren of the Catholic Christian faith.
This symbolic gesture of peace and reconciliation was carried out by the Ghanaian Muslim leader as part of activities marking his 100th Birthday Anniversary which fell on April 23, 2019.
The Parish Priest of Christ The King Church, Very Rev. Father Andrew Campbell, noted that the life of Sheikh Sharabutu had always been characterized by good deeds which had been a blessing to both Muslims and Christians in the country.
“His coming here is a sign of togetherness, unity and living in harmony with one another,” remarked the Catholic Priest.
Father Campbell prayed for continuous protection and longer life for the National Chief Imam so that the country and society would continue to benefit from his remarkable leadership and wise counsel.
The National Chief Imam increased the level of respect society has had for him over the period of his leadership when earlier this year he quenched what could have resulted in an explosive situation with Rev. Isaac Owusu Bempah, who publicly came on air to prophesy that Sheikh Sharabutu was among those likely to die in 2019.
It took the sagacity and tactful diplomacy of the National Chief Imam to calm down the Muslim Youth who were outraged by Owusu Bempah’s prophecy and were determined to burn down his church.
In the wake of the euphoria that greeted the Chief Imam’s surprise visit to the Christ The King Church in Accra, some sections of Muslims expressed shock and anger at their leader’s otherwise commendable action.
However, majority of comments came from Christians who were delighted to see the Chief Imam demonstrate such rare mark of positive leadership that bodes nothing but love, unity and peace among people of various faiths in Ghana.
Alhaji Khuzaima M. Osman, Personal Assistant to the National Chief Imam, indicated that the Chief Imam’s visit to the Christ The King Church was reciprocal gesture towards his Christian colleagues who had been paying courtesy calls on him in the past 20 years at his Fadama residence in Accra.
Prominent Christian leaders such as Rev. Dr. Mensah Otabil of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC), Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams of Action Chapel International (ACI), Apostle General Sam Korankye Ankrah of Royal House Chapel International (“AHENFIE”) and Bishop Charles Agyin Asare of Perez Chapel International, are known to be very good friends of the Sheikh, in spite of differences in their religious beliefs.
“Happy to note that I was there”, said Patti, an Alumnus of the American Field Service (AFS) Intercultural Programs who commented on the Sheikh’s visit to the Church.
“The Chief Imam turns 100 on Tuesday. He was blessed by Fr. Campbell and Monsignor Senoo. The 100-year-old spoke about the need to live together peacefully. He even presented his offering. We ought to thank God for unity and peace”, Patti noted.
“This indeed is very good to see. We need such actions on behalf of religious leaders for peace and harmony in our country, Ghana”, remarked Rev. Dr. Setri Nyomi, another AFS Ghana Alumnus and former General Secretary of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC), who is currently the District Pastor of the Adenta E. P. Church in Accra.
“It reminds me of Yasser Arafat of Palestine, who I met in 2001. I got to know that for more than 20 years, he was regular at Christmas services every single year”, Rev. Dr. Nyomi noted.
“Wow! Interesting to know that about Yasser Arafat!” exclaimed Alvan Kweku Quaison, another AFS Alumnus based in South Africa.
“At the end of the day, if we can love, understand and tolerate one another we can create that peaceful environment to live in harmony. Let’s continue to walk and talk together, all ye people of the world!!! Happy Easter to you all”, Quaison wrote on the AFS Ghana Platform.
“Incredible!!! It’s a good sign. It’s a good thing”, said Kwame Otchere (aka “Duala”), former National Director of AFS-Ghana.
“Very exemplary and commendable”, commented Anthony Mensah a 1987 AFS Alumnus to Illinois, USA and currently with Zenith University College in Accra.