Freetown, Baby!


God bless Islam by jc2010sl
March 24, 2010, 1:03 pm
Filed under: society | Tags: , ,

It’s common to see vehicles in Freetown adorned with various messages and injunctions. Many of them are religious in nature, and you’ll commonly see signs like “Believe in God”, “Trust in Allah”, or “God will provide”. I saw one yesterday though, that stuck me as slightly odd:

I thought that “God” was Christian, and that Islam would be blessed by “Allah”.

I guess this blurring of religious lines symbolises in some way the incredible religious tolerance in Salone. It’s often said that Salone is a model of peaceful co-existence, something backed up by a Gallup survey, for those of you with pointy-headed inclinations.

I was intrigued as to why this was the case, and have been asking the drivers and my Salone colleagues why this is the case. Intermarriage between religions is often mentioned. The last president, Ahmed Kabbah – no prizes for guessing his faith – was married to a devout catholic.

It’s also common to have conversion between faiths. Abdul and Musa, both born to Islamic parents, are now Christians. As my driver pointed out, the mixing of different religions between families makes religious tension and violence more difficult to conceive – “How could I say I hate Muslims? I would have to hate my father.”

Plausible as all this seemed, it didn’t quite seem to get to the heart of the matter. Aren’t intermarriage and conversion as much manifestations of religious tolerance as causes of it?

I probed people a bit more this point – how do they think the faiths are related? There is a belief that God and Allah are one and the same. Christianity and Islam are seen as different paths to the same end; the same diety.

So it makes perfect sense to ask “God” to bless Islam.

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[…] in Freetown are always emblazoned with messages on their front and rear bumpers. Mostly these are religious professions or exhortations, and sometimes homespun wisdom; “Trust in God” and “Giver never lack” are […]

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