General News of 2014-06-22

No religion is superior or inferior – Mahama

President John Mahama has advised Ghanaians not to regard any religion in the country as either superior or inferior to the other in order to sustain the religious tolerance in the country and make it more meaningful.

The President’s advice was contained in an address read on his behalf by the Western Regional Minister, Mr. Paul Evans Aidoo at the 20th National Ramadan Conference in Takoradi.

The conference, under the theme – “Religious Tolerance – A Pre-Requisite for national development,” was attended by Regional Chief Imams of all the various Islamic Sects and other delegates from nine out of the 10 religious bodies in the country.

President Mahama said Ghana is blessed because Ghanaians continue to co-exist in harmony with one another and inter-marriage between Christians and Muslims are common and thereby strengthening the bond of unity.

He stressed that the occasional coming together between Christians and Muslims should be the envy of all, adding that the phenomenon is rare in many jurisdictions, and it is therefore imperative that Ghanaians jealously sustain it for others to emulate.

“Such unity of purpose gives hope to policy makers to carry out with their duties without fear or favour,” President Mahama added.

He reiterated his assurance that the NDC Government is committed to re-aligning the Zongo communities in the country to improve their living conditions.

The President said under the Urban Renewal Project and in collaboration with the Brazilian Government, the Government would reconstruct roads, drains, alleyways and houses in the Zongo communities and provide such deprived areas with other social amenities.

He said aside this deliberate policy to improve lives, Government would liaise with the Council of Muslim Chiefs to come out with various skills training projects for the youth in Zongos to empower them to earn some livelihood, observing that an increasing youth population without jobs is a recipe for social tensions including armed robbery.

He urged Regional Chief Imam to sensitize their people to join hands to ensure the success of the implementation of the project.

In an address read on his behalf, the National Chief Imam, Alhaji Sheikh Nunhu Sharabutu,” explaining that Islam is not a ‘terrorist religion,” explaining that Islam was established by the Almighty Allah as a “true, peaceful and ideal religion worthy of embracing by mankind.”

In this regard, he pointed out that the activities of Boko Haram in Nigeria which they claimed as jihad is “un-Islamic” as Jihad in Islam is not the killing of innocent lives and abducting school children but fighting in defence of good ideals for the upliftment of mankind.

Alhaji Sharabutu said the one month long religious duty of fasting should ideally be characterized by total dedication to the service of the Almighty, upliftment of moral values and encouragement of vitreous standards among which are the love for one another, showing compassion, and tolerating each other.

He pointed out that the laudable ideas of fasting would be illusory if “we as Muslims do not encourage an atmosphere of peaceful co-existence and tolerating each other’s views regardless of our religious or ethnic learning which will bring about development of our religion and the nation.”

Alhaji Sharabutu therefore called on all Muslims in the country to contribute greatly to any effort at ensuring high level of peaceful co-existence and tolerance of each other’s views.

He expressed his appreciation and gratitude to President Mahama for the much assistance he had been giving to the Muslim communities in the country.

The conference was chaired by Sheikh Ostaz Ali Hassan Ali, Western Region Chief Imam.