Can Muslims and Christians Coexist in Peace?

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Christians and Moslems in Eritrea are invariably pious
Christians and Moslems in Eritrea are invariably pious. They coexist peacefully for more than 2000 years. Eritrea’s culture of religious tolerance is sacrosanct. (Photo: Eric Lafforgue)

By Thomas C. Mountain,

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a place in the world where Muslims and Christians live in peace? Where their children play together, their families eat together, Christians visiting their Muslim neighbors at Eid, Muslims going to eat next door at Easter?

Where a Christian girl can marry a Muslim boy without any real commotion within families?

Where Muslims and Christians dance together while celebrating weddings and holidays, old and young, rich and poor, different tribes and languages and all this peacefully?

I am not talking about a community, a village, town or even a province. I am saying wouldn’t it be great if an entire country of millions of people, lets say half Muslim and half Christian, lived together in respect and harmony?

In today’s world its hard to imagine that this could be possible. In Iraq the Christians have been driven from the land. In the Central African Republic the Muslim peoples have been chased out.

In Switzerland, popular vote made the display of Islamic culture in the form of minarets on the roofs of their houses of Islamic worship illegal. In Kenya a series of Muslim clerics are murdered by supposedly Christian police.

In Nigeria, and now Cameroon and Chad, religious fanatics claiming membership in Islam drive Christians from the land.

In the USA the Gestapo a.k.a. the FBI, has at least one full time agent monitoring every single Muslim Mosque in the entire country.

So wouldn’t it be great if there was somewhere on this planet where Muslims and Christians respect each other, and dwell together in peace and harmony?

I live in Eritrea and have seen this all existing for years now, first hand, many, many times. Jamal’s family are our Muslim neighbors. My wife is Christian. We eat together on Eid and Easter. In this country every tribe dances, mostly everyone together, grandparents and grandchildren, men and women, boys and girls, no matter social, religious or ethnic status.

ALSO READ : Eritrea: The Little-told Story of Religious Co-Existence

Eritrea, about 5 million people, is half Muslim and half Christian. There are a total of nine tribes in our country, and some of the tribes like the Saho and even the largest, Tigrinia, have both Christian and Muslim members.

The one thing we don’t have is religious fanatics, no Jerry Falwell or Osama Bin Laden allowed. No one is allowed to spread religious hatred or intolerance, the matter is to sensitive. The Eritrean people are united on this point, that no one is going to divide us along religious lines like has happened in so many other African and Asian countries.

It is really nice living somewhere Muslims and Christians live in peace. I just wish that this be known for all the world to see, so all the lies and slanders I hear said about us can be swept into the dust bin of history and maybe, just maybe, other countries in this world may take heed of us and bring religious peace to their lands, and Muslims and Christians will live together in peace.

Thomas C. Mountain is an independent journalist living and reporting from Eritrea since 2006. He can be reached via twitter @thomascmountain on Facebook at thomascmountain or at thomascmountain at gmail dot com