Links between Christians, Muslims in Senegal go beyond faith
Christians and Muslims in Senegal have strong ties that go beyond the religious framework to encompass blood links, belonging to the same area and family, Father Patrice Coly, in charge of Communications at the diocese of Dakar has said.
"In our villages and areas, Christians and Muslims share everyday life; they generally have good relationships, even before the calls for unity and dialogue between these two communities. There are beautiful examples of Muslims and Christians helping each other build churches or mosques", he said.
The longstanding friendship between Christian and Muslim leaders and personal initiatives by both sides have rubbed off on the Senegalese people in general, whose first president, Leopold Sedar Senghor was a fervent Catholic, backed by large portions of local Muslim brotherhoods.
"The other example was the friendship between Cardinal Thiandoum and Thierno Seydou Nourou Tall, which continued later on, between Thierno Habibou Daha Tall and Cardinal Thiandoum, then with the current Cardinal Theodore Adrien Sarr. It is to be recalled that after the death of Serigne Saliou Mbacke (Supreme leader of the Mouride brotherhood) in December 2007, the Church had sent a delegation, including a representative of the Pope, an assistant to Cardinal Sarr, and the Bishop of Thies, to the holy city of Touba, for a historic visit, which was hailed as an olive branch extended to the Muslim community by the Catholic church”, the priest added.
Father Coly also referred to the Church’s condolences to Habibou Daha Tall and the entire Omar Foutiyou Tall’s family, on the occasion of the death of the General Caliph of that brotherhood.
Muslim and Christian communities also take joint initiatives, when they feel local people can benefit from such initiatives, to strengthen ties.
He also recalled the call by the Imams of the Guediawaye (suburbs of Dakar) inviting all Christians to join them in the fight against the high costs of electricity in the country.
“On several occasions, we had the chance to hold joint conferences with imams on the teachings of Islam and the Church on issues such as marriages. Priests and Imams are more frequently holding conferences, pertaining to various societal issues.