Religious leaders urged to inculcate peace values in youth

Superintendent Imam Hussein Abdur Rahim Hussein, in charge of Islamic Affairs, Ghana Police Service has called on religious leaders to involve key stakeholders in educating the youth against violence before, during and after elections.

According to him, religious leaders wield influence and could shape youth who were mainly perpetrators of violence to observe peace in the upcoming December 7 polls.

Speaking at a peace advocacy symposium organised by Baraka Policy Institute (BPI), a policy think tank held in Accra on Saturday, Imam Hussein noted that there were three key groups who spearhead violence during elections.

“I have identified these three groups who always perpetrate violence – these are people who are paid to inflict pain on others, passionate party members and those who are influenced by leader’s action to engage in violence,” he explained.

Touching on the theme: “Leveraging on our religious values in ensuring peaceful elections in Ghana,” Imam Hussein indicated that both Christian and Islamic religions preached the value of peace and were the main institutions which had about 90 per cent followers, thus could do more to instil peace and orderliness during the 2020 elections.

He charged religious leaders, peace advocacy institutions and electoral stakeholders to identify the hotspots of violence including Ashaiman, Madina, James Town, Ayawaso West among others to inculcate peaceful values in the youth of the area.

The General Secretary of Christian Council of Ghana, Reverend Dr Cyril Fayose also urged Christians to be their brothers’ keepers before, during and after the elections.

“The Bible says we should be our brothers’ keeper and love our neighbours as ourselves. If we do these we will keep our brothers life, we will not inflict pain and torture anyone,” he said.

Rev. Dr Fayose indicated that God is peaceful and those who pursued peace would be called the children of God, thus urged the country to maintain peace.

On his part, Sheikh Armiyawo Shaibu, spokesperson of Chief Imam noted that elections was a civic right but the peace foundation of the country begun to shake whenever election was about to be conducted.

He said peace was a necessity and a divine merit given to mankind to ensure they strived on a flourished environment.

“When there is violence all your basis of survival is taken away from you so you cannot develop. It takes a lot to instil peace if violence strike, therefore work on yourselves and don’t allow any leader to destroy your future by using you as a weapon for war,” Sheikh Shaibu added.

He charged Christians and Muslims to join hands not only to pray for peace but become ambassadors of peace, adding that “we must accept any leader once the winner is declared since the leader is the answer to our prayers, this will maintain peace.”

In order not to incite war, Sheikh Shaibu appealed to politicians to guide their words when speaking and should not over jubilate when declared as winner.

BY JOYCELINE NATALLY CUDJOE

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