Dialogue with Muslims and African Traditional Religions

One of the Commissions proposed by the Provincial Pastoral Plan is the Dialogue Commission. Dialogue, according to the Plan, is a way of relating with others without prejudice and intolerance. It presupposes understanding and respect for the others. Specifically, religious dialogue refers to the way Catholic Christians relate with each other in the Church with openness, understanding and respect. Secondly, it refers to the way Catholics relate to other Christian believers, Muslims, non-believers and people of good will in society with the same attitude and vice versa. Thus, when we talk of dialogue, we are thinking of Internal dialogue, Ecumenical dialogue, Dialogue with Muslims, dialogue with African Traditional Religion, Dialogue with non-believers and Dialogue with people of good will. Our primary concern here is to look at the dialogue with Muslims and African Traditional Religions.


In the Archdiocese of Bamenda, there are some Muslims spotted here and there in some of the Parishes. There is a peaceful coexistence between the Muslims and the Christians. There has not been any formal dialogue with Islam as such since there are no structures to relate with, and because the Muslims do not easily lend themselves to formal dialogue. However, there is a dialogue of life by which the Christians and Muslims often found in the same household live and work together harmoniously. When the opportunity offers itself, Muslims and Christians meet together for prayer sessions when organized by the government. In celebrations of great importance in the life of the Catholic Church, Muslims are always invited, and they always respond by being present for the celebrations. When they in turn invite the Christians for their celebrations, the Christians are also present.


Concerning dialogue with African Traditional Religions, the attempts made to dialogue especially with the Fons and Chiefs who are custodians of African Traditional Religions in the various Parishes in the Archdiocese of Bamenda has been slowed as a result of the Anglophone Crisis which has chased away many of the Fons and Chiefs of our villages. That notwithstanding, some strides have been made towards inculturation, the positive aspects of our cultures being brought to the Church for studies, modification and subsequent approval/incorporation.