Programme for Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa (PROCMURA)
Headquarters – Nairobi, Kenya
The Programme for Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa was originally established in Ghana in 1959 as the “Islam in Africa Project.” The project was created as a result of the country’s struggle for independence from Britain, France, and Portugal.
The Programme for Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa is dedicated to working with the churches in Africa to promote the following:
- Faithful Christian witness to the Gospel in an interfaith environment of Christians and Muslims.
- Constructive engagement with Muslims for peace and peaceful co-existence for the holistic development of the human person.
PROCMURA operates a central office located in Nairobi, Kenya. The office staff structure consists of a general advisor, who oversees operations of the organization. Staff reporting to him include two executive officers who oversee programs as well as finance and administration; and three regional coordinators. Additional staff members are: an administrative assistant, an assistant accountant, a literature and communications officer, a secretary, a librarian/receptionist, and other auxiliary staff.
The three regional coordinators oversee three different regions of Africa including: the Francophone West Africa region, the Anglophone West Africa region, and the East/Southern Africa region. The coordinators oversee the activities of the program in twenty African countries.
PROCMURA believes that Christian witness is an integral part of Christian identity as well as necessary as a presence in an interfaith environment. PROCMURA advocates the following:
- The Christian Church in a Muslim environment should seek to come to a deeper understanding of Muslim neighbors and their religion of Islam
- Understanding not only implies a fair and objective knowledge of Muslims’ beliefs but also respect and empathy towards Muslims
- Christians and Muslims share a common belief in humanity, therefore, the Gospel should be communicated and interpreted to Muslims in a positive manner
- Such interpretation must be faithful and not compromising only to promote peaceful co-existence
Goals for PROCMURA towards positive Christian-Muslim relations include:
- Promoting the spirit of being good neighbors, mutual respect, and tolerance
- Engaging with Muslim communities to ensure that conflicts between Christians and Muslims are solved peacefully and without violence
- Use Christ as a model of the “Prince of Peace” to co-exist with Muslims
Throughout its life span, PROCMURA has:
- Pioneered the dissemination of information regarding Islam and Christian-Muslim relations in Africa to churches in mission organizations around the continent.
- Initiated grassroots ministries to encourage Christian-Muslim collaborations and peaceful co-existence.
- Influenced Christian-Muslim co-operation regarding matters of mutual interest and concern.
- Created forums when conflict between the two communities has arisen.
- Involved peace initiatives where political, religious, and ethnic issues between Christians and Muslims are involved and divided.
- Provided and encouraged specialized training and research on Christian-Muslim relations.
- Created a forum for women to come together regarding Christian-Muslim interaction.
- Promoted research on Christian-Muslim relations in Africa.
- Created a BA, MA, and PhD program in Christian-Muslim relations at African institutes of higher learning.
New Areas to Explore
Regardless of the major success that PROCMURA has achieved, there are still new areas to explore and things that can be strengthened including:
- Initiate two Christian-Muslim MA programs at additional theological colleges.
- Establishment of the PROCMURA research center.
- Support women theologians who study Islam.
- Explore ways to expand the program throughout Africa.
- Train qualified staff to serve as area advisors in emerging areas.
- Expand the program to serve youth.
- Continue as a forum to share the challenges faced with Christian-Muslim relations.
- Continue to work towards a peaceful co-existence between Christians and Muslims.
During year 2013, the construction of the new PROCMURA Central Office, with a focus on financial sustainability in the future, neared completion. A new Program Assistant was appointed in February 2013 to help PROCMURA move forward in the production of a quarterly electronic newsletter, and to help accelerate the work on women and youth issues in Christian-Muslim relations. A Five-Year Strategic Plan of PROCMURA, which has guided its work since 2007, was concluded.
PROCMURA, with the support of its partners and churches that are involved in its work, continued to provide specialized training in Islam and Christian-Muslim relations to young theologians around Africa to serve their organizations in various capacities. A number of theologians have completed and graduated with Master’s degrees, others are in their second year of studies, while new students have been enrolled.
A number of training sessions were held to include:
- Capacity Building Workshops, Consultations and Training Programmes, Orientation for a newly constituted Ghana Area Committee
- Capacity Building Course on Christian Constructive Relations with Muslims. Accra, Ghana
- Awareness Raising on the Complexity of Christian-Muslim
Relations, Bagamoyo, Tanzania
- Awareness Raising and Capacity Building Workshop for Church Leaders, Kribi, Cameroon
- National Consultation and Training of Women on Issues of Particular Concern to Women in Christian-Muslim Relations, Limuru, Kenya
- A Ripple Effect of the Limuru Consultation, Kitui, Kenya
- Area Advisers and West Africa Christian Islamicists Consultation, Accra, Ghana
PROCMURA recognizes the importance of effective communication in the task of promoting mutual understanding and building trust among and between Christians and Muslims in Africa; they have continued to write and publish newsletters and conference proceedings reports that detail their fieldwork and experiences. PROCMURA’s electronic newsletters are produced quarterly and their Regional Conference proceedings are published as book reports. Their yearly printed calendars continue to carry their vision, mission statement, core values, and one-line messages to the general public. They have continued to issue peace statements to conflict prone areas, to government leaders, religious leaders, and other stakeholders. Communiqués were also sent out. PROCMURA continued to enroll and urge the public to access the PROCMURA website to get resources and relevant information regarding Christian-Muslim relations in Africa.
PROCMURA continued to embark on their conflict prevention, peacebuilding, and reconciliation programs around the continent. This was in fulfillment of their stated vision of a continent where Christian and Muslims live with their differences in peace and cooperate to work toward peace in society and peaceful co-existence between the two communities for the holistic development of the human family and the environment. To that end, a number of workshops were held including:
- Francophone West and Central Africa Regional Initiative for Christian and Muslim Religious Leaders on Peace and Development, Maroua, Cameroon
- Capacity Building Workshop for Christian and Muslim Religious Leaders on Conflict Prevention and Peace Building as Prerequisites of Development, Bangui, Central African Republic
- Christian and Muslim Religious Leaders Conference on Sustainable Peace and Development, Douala, Cameroon
- Christian and Muslim Youth Peace Conference, Thiadiaye, Senegal
On the African continent, PROCMURA continues to work closely with the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) and all church-related and ecumenical organizations It is PROCMURA’s commitment to continuing to work with and collaborate with all other organizations whose ideals and goals are in part, or in whole, that of PROCMURA’s.