Living in West Africa, we are geographically closer to Nigeria and the acts of terrorism committed by Boko Haram, which is usually translated to ‘Western education is a sin.” In the newsroom at the Daily Guide, we often discuss the war raging in Gaza. Then last week, we were all pretty shaken when we heard about Malaysia Flight MH17 being shot down in Ukraine.
I become increasingly grateful for the peace in Ghana each day as the news about religious conflicts abroad worsens. I’m also impressed, to be honest. It seems like the entire world is boiling with anger, vengeance, and confusion, which is understandable when countless lives are being lost over things as important as personal identity and as unimportant as random chance. Ghana has managed to remain peaceful in all of this. Granted, the individual conflicts are based in religion but complicated by other complex problems, differences, and histories, but in a country that is deeply focused on faith, it is remarkable that peace and even the celebration of plurality is the norm.
There is a Ghanaian proverb that goes: “Too much meat does not spoil the soup.” The meaning behind this age-old saying is very fitting, especially in this country.
At our last Media in Ghana group meeting before leaving Eugene, a Ghanaian man named Michael was giving us language and cultural lessons touched on the religious differences in Ghana. He stated that he had not once heard of a Muslim, Christian, and/or a Jew getting into a violent altercation over religion in his country.
Ghana is home to about 20 million people and over 60 ethnic group and languages. According to the 2010 census, 61.2% of Ghanaians are Christian, 32.5% are Muslim, 4.2% are Taoist, 3.8% are Hindu, 3.4% are Buddhist, 3.3% Animist/Traditional, and 2.2% are unaffiliated with any religion.
Today is the last day of Ramadan and it’s observed by everyone whether they are Muslim or not, most people aren’t at work because it’s a national holiday.