The Minister for National Security, Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, has urged religious bodies to be active players in the security of the state by letting their voices be heard.
He said religious bodies were critical players in safeguarding national security because all religions, regardless of the differences in doctrine, upheld the values of peace, tolerance and empathy which, when inculcated in the moral fabric of society, contributed significantly to promoting peace, unity and stability of the state.
The minister was speaking at a sensitisation workshop on Ghana’s security strategy document for the leadership of religious bodies in Accra yesterday.
The document was launched in June 2021 by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
The workshop formed part of a series of engagements initiated by his outfit to sensitise stakeholders to the content of the document and also spell out their respective roles in ensuring national stability and peace.
The ministry has already engaged representatives of ministries, departments and agencies (MMDAs), civil society organisations (CSOs), law enforcement agencies, the Judiciary, the media and the Peace Council on the strategic roles they could play to ensure national cohesion and stability.
Participants included the leadership of the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference, the Tijaniyya Muslim Council, the Ahli-sunna Muslim Group, the Christian Council of Ghana, the Ahmadiya Muslim Mission, traditional religion practitioners, the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council and the National Council of Christian and Charismatic Churches.
In recent times, Mr Kan-Dapaah said, arguments had been advanced to the effect that the perceived silence and nonchalance of the leadership of some religious bodies had contributed to the spate of moral depravity and the upsurge in lawlessness which he said were increasingly threatening the internal security of the country.
“The enormous power you wield as leaders of the various religious groups, one that enables you to touch the hearts and minds of the people in ways that no other institution can attempt, places a moral obligation on you to lead the charge in creating an upright society that contributes meaningfully to the consolidation of peace, unity and stability of the state,” he said.
The national security strategy, the minister said, would, among others, also ensure effective collaboration between state actors and religious groups to prevent crime, lawlessness and other social vices in the country.
The Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Mr Kojo Kum, said religious intolerance had the potential to derail the progress of the nation, adding: “As leaders, we have to accept that without peaceful coexistence, we cannot progress as a nation.
We cannot, as a country, take the peace and stability we are enjoying today for granted.”
In an interview, a former General Secretary of the National Association of Charismatic and Christian Churches, Rev. Dr Emmanuel Ansah, said the programme was necessary to sensitise colleague religious leaders to the need to support the government to ensure peace and stability in the country at all times.
A representative of the Ahmadiya Muslim Mission, Alhaji Abdul Wahab Issah, also said Ghana was currently “the only island of peace in a very turbulent sub- region.
Researches have revealed that there are more terrorists out there than what we think”.
“Every Ghanaian belongs to one religious grouping or another, so we must take advantage of this and talk to our people,” he added.
For his part, a traditional religious leader, Mr Numo Blafo, expressed concern that religious fundamentalism had led to the rise of insurgent groups, a development which “must be watched”.