Catholic and Islamic radio stations have signed an accord to air each others programs in order to promote interfaith dialogue, a local missionary has reported in the formerly Spanish colony of Guinea-Bissau.
"A priest will speak of the Gospel in an Islamic radio and a Muslim shall speak Islam at a catholic radio," said Fr . Davide Sciocco .
The accord will be a "unique and important aspect for interfaith dialogue in a country where Muslims represent some 40 percent of the population and Christians 12 to 13 percent," said the missionary from the Pontifical Institute of Foreign Missions (PIME).
According to Fr Sciocco, the two radios, Radio Sol Mansi -the risen sun - and the Koranic school radio in Mansoa, Recom, have actually maintained ties for some time; the signed accord gives it a more symbolic and official value.
"I'm not sure if this is the first experience of this type but it is surely one of the first. I will refer to the Gospel every time in telling a story. I shall speak addressing a non-Christian audience. Our radio will reciprocate hosting various Recom programs, confirming the space that already gives an imam the chance to discuss Islam to an audience of non-Muslims," Fr. Sciocco said.
The goal is to "promote and strengthen interfaith dialogue, already strong in Guinea Bissau as it is; opening to various forms of collaboration, technical and journalistic," said Fr Sciocco.
The PIME missionary said, "If we wish to live together we must learn each other's faiths very well."
Abubacar Djaló, the director of Recom has confirmed that cooperation, established by a written accord, is in fact the conclusion of a path started a long time ago as he notes some of the basic steps such as the participation of Muslim representatives to a seminar of catechists from the Mansoa Catholic mission.
However, Fr Sciocco says the experiment also represents a message that appears to be challenging the recently adopted security laws also featured in most European Union (EU) countries in Italy, which do not reconcile dialogue and mutual respect.
He concluded, "What we propose is peaceful cohabitation of people of different faiths who want to get to know one another."