Elder Kwaku Onwona-Hwesofour Asante says it’s time for us a nation to build a peaceful, just and inclusive Societies. Most of our communities or societies are challenged with poverty, inequality, environmental degradation, poor and inaccurate information which have a high tendency to drive and fuel conflicts.
He says we must promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development adding that we must provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels to reduce conflicts and suicidal tendencies. He reiterated that practices such as galamsey, deforestation and forest degradation are a serious threat to the lives and survival of humans, animals, plant species and ecosystem services.
“Religions across the globe share common social, economic and environmental problems for which reason the United Nations present a solution roadmap as Agenda 2030” he said.
Elder Asante was speaking at a joint service held by the Ntonso Newsite Seventh-Day Adventist Church and Islamic Congregation in the community; as part of its Adventist Moslem Relations day.
The event was held under the theme ‘Adventism and Islam; Religious Siblings for a Common Social and Environmental Agenda’. The theme underscored the fact that Adventism and Islam share common beliefs and practices and calls on both to unite in solving common social and environmental challenges.
Elder. Asante explained that both the Holy Bible and Koran present common beliefs such as belief in one God (Monotheism). He also articulated that practices such as non-alcoholism, consumption of biblically- sanctioned meat, delight in herbs, vegetables, cereals and fruits, foot washing and orderliness in the presence of God are common to both faiths.
“Belief such as Jesus being the only Son of God as presented in Sura Al-Maidah 5:17 presents Christ as the son of Mary using “Ibn” (Mary’s son by association) but not “Walad” (God’s Child through marriage) and other beliefs such as belief in the day of resurrection and virgin conception are common beliefs shared by Adventists and Islam” he pointed out.
He argued that global pandemics like COVID-19 and environmental problems have transnational impacts by virtue of the common transboundary resources we share notably air and water.
“Whatever pollutant we release on land ends up destroying either the soil health, vegetation, water resources or air contributing to climate change, heavy metals and toxins in our food chain and increased health problems.
He used the opportunity to call on all religious groups to strengthen their stewardship role towards the environment by supporting the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and maintaining ecological productivity to enable a better account on the day of judgment as true and faithful stewards deserving divine rewards.
“Let us leverage our congregational and educational platforms to deepen understanding on human role as stewards for society and environment and further strengthen our institutional governance arrangements to engage productively with government against infringement of religious liberty rights.
Christianity and Islam are significant contributors to the establishment of educational institutions; the religious groups should champion the inculcation of the mindset of commitment to environmental sustainability, social inclusion and socioeconomic development among the youth by investing in youth entrepreneurship, climate change adaptation and disability-friendly infrastructure” Elder. Asante said.
On his part, Sheik Abubakar Ishaq-Yusif mentioned that the COVID-19 and many other past pandemics and emerging ones can be attributed to changing cultures and declining morality.
He added that it is Allah’s will that all humans will be free and safe from any disease but because of human disobedience to religious, natural and physical laws, we are unable to free ourselves from preventable diseases.
“If God does not allow any disease, it is impossible for us to experience it. Allah uses pandemics to draw attention to human’s deviation from His precepts.
Allah has solution to all the diseases we experience and it behooves on humans to call and rely on Allah for solutions to our common problems” he said.