President Nana Addo Dankwa-Akufo-Addo has urged Ghanaians to be vigilant and report suspicious characters who get into various communities to take advantage of Ghana’s acclaimed hospitality to unleash mayhem on the people to the security agencies.
He has also called on Ghanaians of all faith to exercise restraint in the face of provocation because the lack of restraint will only feed into the destructive plans of the miscreants who seek to destroy in the name of religion.
President Akufo-Addo was addressing thousands of Muslim faithful who thronged the Black Star Square in Accra yesterday to offer prayers and thanksgiving during the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr after successfully going through the month of Ramadan.
The faithful were led in prayer by the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu.
President Akufo-Addo recalled the recent threats and attacks on some Christians and Muslims by miscreants in West Africa and other parts of the world and cautioned that “we do not want this and other phenomenon to occur in our country”.
He applauded the vigilance of the two faithful of the Roman Catholic Church in Hamile in the Upper West Region who, together with the church leaders, alerted the police to the presence of a Burkinabe with a gun at the church who had since been arrested.
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He proclaimed Ghana’s envious position in the world due to the peaceful coexistence of different religious communities and said the visit by the National Chief Imam to the Christ the King Catholic Church in Accra to meet the Parish Priest, Father Andrew Campbell, as a gesture of solidarity should be emulated and celebrated.
President Akufo-Addo also recounted how some major Christian leaders in Kukuom in the Ahafo Region visited the mosque when the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, visited various Muslim communities as part of his Ramadan tour.
He also recalled how, in a similar vein, the Darkuman SDA Church had declared a day as Muslim Relations Day, with the Adventists dressing like Muslims and sending fruits to the various mosques in and around Darkuman.
The President noted that those beautiful spectacles happening in Ghana should not be taken for granted.
He said Ghanaians must strive to preserve the culture of religious tolerance because such a beautiful way of life could not be sacrificed for anything, including people who sought to pervert religious beliefs, and urged Ghanaian Muslims especially not to let agents of provocation destroy the unique way of life.
President Akufo-Addo explained that the establishment of the Inner Cities and Zongo Development Ministry was aimed at making the inner cities and Zongos a central part of the national development agenda and avoid the situation where they were the exclusive zones for breeding despair and hopelessness.
He announced that approval had been given for spending from the Zongo Development Fund, as captured in the 2019 Budget, for the provision of water systems, the rehabilitation of school blocks, the building of new school structures, the provision of desks for Islamic schools and the rehabilitation of tertiary drains in the communities.
He expressed the hope that the intervention would resolve some of the many challenges that confronted the communities and gave an assurance that work would commence soon, adding that those lofty development projects would be realised only when there was peace.
President Akufo-Addo commended the Chief Imam for chalking 100 years and prayed for God’s blessings, good health and wisdom for him.
He also lauded the Chief Imam’s excellent leadership on the Muslim community in Ghana.
He urged Muslims to continue to uphold the virtues of Ramadan even after the fasting and make them part of their everyday life and not to resort to business as usual but reflect on the word of the Quran which said that fasting was meant for the Muslim to attain righteousness.
He said Ghanaians also required the virtues that Muslims needed to cultivate during the month of Ramadan, which included good neighbourliness, sacrifice and discipline.
President Akufo-Addo gave an assurance that his government would continue with the task of delivering prosperity to the people of Ghana, saying that was the reason every policy it had pursued so far had been meant to engender inclusiveness.
Preaching the sermon, Sheikh Sharubutu called for the continued co-existence of Muslims with people of other faiths because that was a prerequisite for the accelerated development Ghanaians were yearning for.
He urged Ghanaians to demonstrate love to and forgive one another, irrespective of their religious or ethnic backgrounds.
He said human beings were all descendants of Adam and that Allah had created people of varied races and colour in order for them to identify one another and worship Him.
Therefore, he said, the best among mankind were those who refrained from sin and observed good deeds.
"We should be lovers of one another. You should not attack your fellow man. We are all descendants of Adam. We have to forgive one another. What will make you better than your fellow man is the fear of Allah," he said.
Sheikh Sharubutu said the preoccupation of every Ghanaian should be how the country could develop to meet all its needs.
He urged the people to show respect to their leaders and asked leaders to be merciful towards their subordinates.
He also cautioned the youth not to take the law into their own hands but be law-abiding and responsible citizens, contributing their quota to the development of the country.
The Chief Imam urged Ghanaians to exercise patience with the government and help it develop the country.
He prayed for continued peace and development in the country and also for the protection for President Akufo-Addo and Vice-President Bawumia.