Date: Thursday, 09 November 2017
Islam and Christianity in Eritrea: Personal Reflections on the Christian and Islamic Faith in Eritrea
It has been a wonderful privilege, experience and a delightful Grace for me to have been born amongst the Islamic and Christian traditions.
As I look back over these gracious years, I am particularly grateful for the time I spent in Eritrea recently. The most important lesson learned, during my stay, has been the understanding that both the Christian and Islamic faiths talk about human unity and indivisibility.
It is unique, I might add, only to Eritrea, to see religious leaders of both faiths, address their followers to respect each other and embrace their differences. It is also a common practice to see people attend at each other’s worship of God during important religious holidays. It is this love, unity and grace that I witnessed in Eritrea which anchors my heart and nurtures my memory for the reminder of the journey.
Similarly, the Quran states that “you all together hold firm the Rope (Al-Quran) of Allah and do not indulge in dissension (differences). Remember the favor of Allah that He has done to you. You were enemies to and another, He brought your hearts together and with his blessing and Grace you became brothers each other”.
Moreover, the best times of all for me have been my relationship with my brethren of other faiths: Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists. For in this ecumenical friendship I have learned to celebrate the events which enabled us to embrace, with joyful hope, the essential truth of who we are and of what we are about. In spite of our religious differences that we are all created, as the scripture says, in “His image and likeness”. This teaching of the scripture helped me to develop an intimate relationship with my fellow human beings based not in religious affiliations, but rather, in one of the deepest human and personal relationships and affections.
It is a journey and a vision of life that serves as the measure by which we, as a human family, are encouraged to practice brotherly love. It is a journey and vision of life that rejects extremism whether it arises in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Truly, who measures up to the way of life portrayed in the Quran and the Bible? Indeed, who can?
In my view many - of the values and dispositions observed in Eritrea and proposed in the Quran and the Bible seem to chart a swift passage into a state of unity and brotherhood. Therefore, during this critical period I think of each of these in its application in my own life. May not any one of us make our lives profoundly blessed in all these ways?