The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) has since stepped in to intervene and ensure co-existence between the two parties.
Intolerance between the two sides ensued from October 2010 when some Muslims in Traditional Authority (T/A) Bwananyambi tore copies of the Bible distributed by Gedions International at Mkumba Catholic Primary School where some Muslim pupils were among the recipients.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Muslim children received the Bibles despite their headmaster clarifying to them not to receive. That infuriated some Muslim parents and pupils. On Friday, 1st October, 2010, the infuriated Muslim pupils jeered, and threw into the air torn copies of New Testament Bibles at teachers in classes and in the streets,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Bruno Banda, CCJP diocesan coordinator for Mangochi who organised the meeting last week.
The tearing of the Bibles and violence in the run-up to the October 2010 by elections in Mangochi Malombe Constituency prompted the meeting. Banda said the inter-religious meeting was also aimed at preventing conflicts and violence in the 2014 elections.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have decided to introduce an inter-religious dialogue project in T/A Bwananyambi in Mangochi to cool down political emotions so that similar experiences do not recur in 2014 Presidential and Parliamentary elections and thereafter,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Banda.
T/A Bwananyambi confirmed the intolerance between the two sides and urged the communities from her area to co-exist.
Sheikh Tambuli, who is the chairperson for Mangochi District inter-religious local advisory committee, urged Muslims and Christians to tolerate each other for peace to prevail.
Leaders in the Muslim and Christian circles in the district and traditional and political leaders were equipped with knowledge and skills on, among other subjects, inter-religious dialogue, tolerance, mediation and conflict mapping.