Pres urges religious leaders to promote peace

mahamaPRESIDENT John Mahama has charged religious leaders to continue to preach peaceful co-existence, tolerance and love for one another to prevent violence, religious differences and conflict.

“Let’s not take the peace we enjoy for granted,” he said adding that differences in religion elsewhere results in violence and loss of lives.

Speaking at a the annual national celebration of the birth of Prophet Mohammed Peace Be Upon Him (PBUH) in Accra yesterday, President Mahama admonished Ghanaians to be vanguard of peace and development, stressing that there will be no development without peace.

The birth of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) also known as Maulid Nabiyi, is organised every January under the aegis of the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Dr. Usman Nuhu Shaributu.

This year’s celebration was attended by Chiefs, Imams, and Christian religious leaders, representatives of the various political parties and members of the Diplomatic Corps.

Underscoring the chronological antecedents of religious tolerance among Muslims and Christians in Ghana, he said “this started during the trans-sahara trade between the Hausa from northern Nigeria, Zabarima from Niger and Berbers from North and people in the forest areas where goods such as cola nut were exchange for gold and other commodities.

“The issue of peaceful co-existence is not new and we must strive to guide against anything that could mar its beauty. Our grandfathers bequeathed to us a legacy that we must jealously guide,” he said.

President Mahama who was accompanied by the Chief of Staff, Mr. Prosper Douglass Bani, the Minister of Water Resources Works and Housing, Alhaji Collins Dauda, and Dr. Mustapha Ahmed, Member of Parliament for Ayawaso North asked the National Chief Imam, Dr. Shaributu to pray unceasingly for the blessings of Allah on the nation.

Turning his attention to religious fundamentalism and extremism, President Mahama described as unacceptable the recent killings of journalist and security officials in Paris, France.

He said not only are those practices reprehensible but they did not depict the true meaning of Islam.

“It is just not acceptable that we preach fundamentalism and extremism. We should always remember that some of the people we kill are our own people. I am not saying fundamentalists are found only in Islam, there are fundamentalists in Christianity too,” he stressed.

On social and economic development, President Mahama said in spite of the challenges that confronted the country for the past two years, “God (Allah) has been good to us”.

He said some modest achievements were made in terms of infrastructure, provision of potable drinking water to the people and connection of many towns and villages to the national grid.

Acknowledging challenges such instability of the Ghanaian Cedi against major international trading currencies, rise in inflation, erratic power supply and labour unrest, and recent inferno at the Tema Medical store, he said the hands of God was on Ghana, as she went through those tribulations unscathed.

Government, he said was working fervently to make life more bearable to Ghanaians through many social intervention programmes geared towards cushioning the poor and the vulnerable.

The National Imam, Dr. Shaributu commended the President and his cabinet as well as the Turkish government for providing building materials for the National Central Masjid (Mosque) at Kanda.

He assured the President of his offices cooperation with the security agencies to expose individuals who would hide under the guise of Islam to unleash violence, terror and mayhem.

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