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President Koroma opens 51st Ahmadiyya Conference
Posted By State House Communications Unit On February 11, 2012 @ 8:59 pm In Religious Affairs | Comments Disabled
Bo, Southern Sierra Leone: In keeping with his policy of religious tolerance, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma officially opened the 51st Jalsa Salana of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission in Bo on Friday 3rd February, 2012.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, which stands for the brotherhood of mankind and strives to establish peace on earth through love, persuasion and tolerance, was founded in 1889 in a small town Qadian, in Punjab, India. Its founder, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908) claimed to be the Promised Reformer of the age.
The Annual Conference of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at is aimed at not only promoting increasing knowledge and understanding of the teachings of Islam and gain all forms of blessings to enable Muslims to become better Ahmadi Muslims, but also infuse in them a new spirit of faith and Taqwa (fear of Allah) and are enabled to go forth and serve the Jama’at and the cause of Islam with renewed fervor and energy.
In his keynote address and formal opening of the conference, President Koroma paid glowing tribute to the work of the Ahmadiyya Mission in Sierra Leone. He noted that over the years the Mission has intervened in the educational and health sectors of the country and the signs of their good work are visible for all to see. In education, the Ahmadiyya Mission has built 187 primary schools and 53 secondary schools all across the country, the president disclosed and advised the Ahmadiyya Jama’at to send their children to school. He also noted that because of the intervention of the Ahmadiyyat in the health sector, many lives have been saved.
President Ernest Bai Koroma maintained that for one to be a true Muslim, Christian or Believer one has to live a life of peace, love and tolerance. According to the president, when some Meccans were persecuted for their belief in the Holy Prophet Mohamed, they fled to Abyssinia where they got refuge and shelter from the Christian King Jaffi Jaffa. He said that the relationship between the Muslims of Mecca and the Christians of Abyssinia as told in the Holy Quran is an excellent example of religious tolerance.
President Koroma informed the Jama’at that the recently concluded Conference on Development and Transformation focused on peace as the “palm oil with which development is eaten”. He thanked the Ahmadiyya Mission for their role in strengthening the peace and orderliness that the country so crave for to propel development and alleviating the lives of the people. He enjoined the Sierra Leonean people to unite and put aside hatredness, be tolerant, love and respect each other for development to move on.
Shiek Tejan Sillah of the Freetown Central Mosque described President Ernest Bai Koroma as a man of peace. He prayed for the president for Allah’s blessings, long life and good health to continue the wonderful work ongoing under his stewardship. The Imam of the Freetown Central Mosque emphasized that all 124,000 prophets sent to this world by Allah came to promote peace and love, thereby changing the behaviour and attitudes of people.
Bishop J.C. Humper of the Sierra Leone Inter-Religious Council called on all Sierra Leoneans to be tolerant and peaceful, “Love for all, hatred for none,” he pleaded. He referred to President Koroma as a very peaceful leader, while adding that the president has preached unity in diversity since he came to office in 2007.
Another firebrand of the Inter-Religious Council, Alhaji U.N.S. Jah observed that Ahmadiyys are much disciplined, and “without discipline”, he said, “a nation cannot move”. Alhaji U.N.S. Jah said that the presence of President Koroma at the ceremony was a very good thing and noted that obeying the president is an edict of Allah. He thanked President Koroma for continuing the religious tolerance prevalent in the country, while maintaining that as far as he believes President Ernest Koroma has been given a post dated check to continue to open ceremonies of such nature.
Alhaji U.N.S. Jah entreated the people of Sierra Leone to eschew violence, preach peace as it is the only way forward for the country. He openly declared that “President Ernest Bai Koroma is a very peaceful man without prejudice to any other person whatsoever”. He called on Muslims to register to enable them to vote, otherwise, he said, if they fail to vote, the devil will rule this country.
Meanwhile, President Ernest Bai Koroma also visited the Bo City central praying ground at the New Site where 200 bags of cement was donated to the Imams in Bo to fence the praying ground.
President Koroma described the massive turn out as an indication that there is unity among the Muslim Umaah in Bo. He emphasized the need for unity, peace and tolerance among the people of Sierra Leone for development to take root. “Is the road system in Bo today the same as yesterday?” he asked. The multitude replied a resounding nooo! “Is the agricultural sector in Bo today the same as yesterday?” The people replied again nooo! “Is the health sector in Bo today the same as yesterday?” Again, the crowd roared, nooo! The president went on to note that even the blind will realize that the roads in the Bo Municipality are not the same as yesterday. He asked the people to decide for themselves who has done more for this country in terms of addressing their heartfelt concerns.
The president reaffirmed this commitment to continue to promote religious tolerance in Sierra Leone. He gave the parable of man whose brother was a surgeon but whenever he performs an operation, the patient will die, while another surgeon, although a stranger performs operations with dexterity and saves lives. “Will you continue to go along with your surgeon brother against the stranger? The mammoth crowd thunderously replied NOOOO!
In his statement, the representative of the United Council of Imams Southern Region, Alhaji Mustapha Alpha Koker expressed profound pleasure to speak on behalf of the noble Council of Imams. He described President Koroma as a President without religious borders. “Your Excellency’s unreserved and perpetual concern for Muslims and their welfare has taught both Muslims and Christians of Sierra Leone a great deal of religious tolerance”, Imam Koker said.
The representative of the Council of Imams, South, disclosed further, “Your Excellency allow me to disclose to you that Sierra Leone is rated No.1 for religious tolerance in the Continent and beyond…in retrospect, you nearly called off a trip to last year’s Commonwealth Conference in Australia because of the stranded Pilgrims at Lungi Airport. Your sympathy was immediately translated into dispatching one of your Ministers to end the suffering of those stranded Muslims.” He also revealed that “During the month of Ramadan every year you feed thousands of Muslims nationwide. May Allah reward you abundantly. May he make true all your good intentions for this nation.
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