ZANZIBAR: Focus on Interreligious Dialogue, Bishop Augustine Tells AMECEA Bishops

ZANZIBAR CITY JULY 25, 2017(CISA) – Bishop Augustine Shao of the Catholic Diocese of Zanzibar has urged the forthcoming Plenary Assembly of Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) to focus more in promoting interreligious dialogue in the region.

“… the reality of the amount of land being bought by Muslims for the erection of Mosques is just alarming, the reality of how other denominations are spreading as whirlwind sweeping along our Catholic faithful is alarming. I might be wrong in that but if you consider the universal trend on how the Muslims are moving very fast even to predominant areas of Christians then there is a reason for us to do something,” Bishop Shao told AMECEA Online News July 21.

He noted that issues relating to interreligious dialogue and solidarity should be one of the key issues to be considered for deliberations during the 19th Plenary Assembly of AMECEA to be held in the, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in July 2018.

Bishop Shao said that, coming from a diocese where Islam is the main religion, “I feel disappointed that the issue of interreligious dialogue has not been given the emphasis it deserves.”

He said that the pastoral care to Nomadic communities in East Africa should be reawakened before it gets out of hand.

“Previously there was strong Pastoral care to the Nomadic Communities in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, this ensured that people who move from one area to the other were well taken care of in terms of their pastoral needs and something needs to be done to reawaken it,” said the prelate.

He observed that there is infiltration of activities of other religions; especially Islam in the most Catholic dominated areas and such activities that are often geared towards luring Catholics to abandon their faith.

The diocese of Zanzibar faced a series of attacks between 2012 and 2013 from Islamic fundamentalists. It comprises of the Islands of Unguja, Pemba and many other small Islets.

The diocese has an area of 2,352 square kilometers, with a total population of 1,420,000, based on 2012 National Census with 10,152 baptized Catholics.

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