The 23rd Annual National Ramadan Conference has ended in Wa with a call on all stakeholders to complement government’s efforts to harness the rich human and natural resources for the accelerated development of the country.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the two-day conference, the delegates also urged Ghanaians to support the efforts of the government to stop the destruction of the environment through such activities as illegal mining, pollution and irresponsible felling of trees.
It also called on Ghanaians to unite behind the government for accelerated development.
The communiqué also praised the government for making Arabic an examinable subject at the basic level of education and expressed the hope that this could be enhanced by recruiting more Arabic teachers and creating chances for more Muslims to be on the Ghana Education Service (GES) Council.
The conference was attended by dignitaries such as the Wa Naa, Alhaji Fuseini Pelpuo IV; all the regional chief imams and their Ummah, the clergy and Members of Parliament.
The conference, which was on the theme: “Religious Tolerance, A Means to National Development ” was instituted by the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu, to bring uniformity in the Ramadan fast among the Muslim community.
Vice-President Addressing the conference, the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, stressed the need for peaceful coexistence and mutual understanding for stability and progress in the country.
“It is, however, important that we do not take this relative peace we are enjoying for granted to disturb the peace and stability of the country,” he said.
He, therefore, described the theme of the conference as appropriate since any amount of religious intolerance would impact negatively on the socio-economic development of the nation.
Dr Bawumia took the opportunity to inform the Muslims, most of whom live in Zongo communities, that the government had allocated GH¢219 million in the national budget for the development of their communities.
He also announced that the government had put in place measures to ensure a smooth process, including the acquisition of passports, for the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca.
In line with that the Vice- President announced that the process of embarking on the Hajj would be decentralised to allow for the voices of all to be taken into account.
The National Chief Imam explained that he instituted the conference to bring to an end the haphazard nature of the Ramadan fast.
In view of that, he said the official start of each fast would be announced from his office.
He used the occasion to thank Allah for the peace and stability prevailing in the country.
Sheihk Sharubutu also thanked the government for its effort to develop the Zongo communities, which he said had been demonstrated by the establishment of an office.
He called on all Muslims to reciprocate this effort by keeping their environment clean and making the effort to educate their children.
The Upper West Regional Minister, Alhaji Sulemana Alhassan, in his welcome address, reiterated the need for religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence to make for rapid development. He said since Islam was a peaceful religion, its adherents should always strive to peacefully and amicably settle disputes.