ZANZIBAR President Dr Ali Mohamed Shein has stressed the need for better understanding and cooperation between monotheistic religions.
He voiced the sentiments during a meeting with Archbishop Maimbo Mndolwa, the new Primate of the Anglican Church of Tanzania, who paid a courtesy call on the Isles President yesterday.
The President said the revolutionary government of Zanzibar treasured all its citizens and respected their religious inclinations, noting that improved faith among followers of all religions would guarantee peace, tranquility, tolerance and patience amongst Tanzanians.
Dr Shein said Zanzibar had a rich history over the co-existence of monotheistic religions, with the history of East Africa showing that Christianity and Islam first penetrated into the Indian Ocean semi-autonomous Archipelago before spreading elsewhere.
Co-existence and inter-faith harmony has characterised the Zanzibar society for centuries and all governments have ensured the values are maintained according to the constitution, said President Shein, who affirmed his government’s commitment to protecting the rights of religious groups in the Isles.
The President referred to independent Zanzibar’s first postage stamp, which depicted a mosque, a church and a Hindu temple as a true sign of inter-religious harmony that characterised the Spice Islands.
Dr Shein assured the Anglican Archbishop of his cooperation, stressing that the government would continue working closely with religious leaders in promoting religious values and socio economic development.
On his side, Archbishop Maimbo expressed gratitude to President Shein for continuous cooperation the Anglican Church had been receiving from the government and maintenance of peace and tranquility on the Isles.
He was particularly grateful to the President’s decision to form a committee of Christian and Islamic clergymen to promote peace and serenity.
Archbishop Maimbo was elected in May this year, becoming the seventh primate of the Anglican Church of Tanzania since its establishment in 1970.
The 49-year-old cleric was consecrated as a bishop in 2012. He is a church historian and holds a doctorate in theology, church and politics.