Muslim Billboard Uproar: Govt calls for religious tolerance

The Malawi Government, through the Minister of Civic Education and National Unity (CENU),Timothy Mtambo, has appealed to the religious and faithful community in the country to preach and practice co-existence and tolerance as one way of attaining peace and unity in the country.

The Minister’s appeal comes in light of misunderstanding between the Moslems and Christians over the former’s billboard erected in Blantyre, purportedly to encourage the citizens to read the Quran.

The bill-board has since been pulled down by unknown people, just a day after the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) wrote Blantyre City Council, describing the message on the bill-board as “offensive to the Christian faith.”

Read the message on the bill-board: “If you have read the old and the new testament, now read the last testament-the Quran.”

Billboard at the centre of controversy

Meanwhile, the CENU Minister, who was copied in the EAM letter to Blantyre City Council, has in a statement released on Thursday, called upon all the Public Affairs Committee (PAC), the country’s quasi-religious body, to “urgently intervene and initiate dialogue meeting aimed at achieving quick diffusion of the apparent tension with the view to amicably resolve the matter at hand”

“Recognizing that this matter turns on peace, religious rights, and most importantly, national unity, my office has deemed it pertinent to approach your office, considering that both Islamic and Christian faith communities are affiliated to your principles and objectives that promote peaceful co-existence of different faith communities among others,” reads the statement in part.

Mtambo has further indicated his availability for a dialogue meeting on the matter at the request of PAC.