President J. A. Kufuor has appealed to religious leaders in the country not to allow any individual or group to use political influence to mar the existing peace, stability and religious harmony in the country.
He condemned hypocritical tendencies, saying, “If we allow hypocrisy, it will disturb the peace and harmony in Ghana.”
Addressing thousands of Muslim worshippers at the forecourt of the Trade Fair Centre in Accra to mark the celebration of Eid-ul-Adha last Saturday, President Kufuor called for co-operation among religious leaders and their followers for the successful implementation of the national identification programme and the re-denomination of the local currency, the cedi, this year (2007).
The prayer service was attended by the Vice-President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, his wife, Hajia Ramatu, Ministers of State, members of the Diplomatic Corps and other dignitaries.
The National Chief Imam, Sheikh Usman Nuhu Sharabutu, accompanied by the President and his vice, witnessed the slaughtering of a cow donated by the President for the sacrifice, which was in remembrance of the sacrifice made by Prophet Abraham.
President Kufuor explained that the national registration exercise was not meant for discrimination but easy governance and economic management.
“Have no fear for being registered. Take part in the registration exercise when it begins next year,” he urged.
On the re-denomination of the cedi, President Kufuor explained that the policy would “change one for one for the dollar”.
He appealed for the support and co-operation of the Muslim community towards the success of the transition.
President Kufuor further called for support for the various initiatives and policies of the government aimed at reducing poverty in the country.
Touching on the country's 50th independence anniversary this year, he said the year had been designated as a Jubilee Year.
“We want all Imams, Ulamas and chiefs to be part of the celebration,” he said. President Kufuor appealed to all worshippers to pray for Ghana to begin afresh.
He commended the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Usman Nuhu Sharabutu, for working closely with the government to promote peace and stability.
President Kufuor said the award of the Order of the Volta conferred on the National Chief Imam last year was not for its sake because Sheikh Sharabutu had contributed and co-operated in handling national problems, including the Yendi crisis.
Sheikh Sharubutu, in a message, called on Ghanaians to give thanks to Allah and glorify His name for the peace and stability bestowed on Ghana.
He urged that the needy and the less fortunate in society should not be forgotten. Sheikh Sharabutu appealed to affluent Muslims to demonstrate, in more practical terms, the determination to reduce poverty in communities through sacrifices and not wait for outsiders to do that.
The National Chief Imam said the sacrifice of Muslims would be meaningless if it did not imbibe in the people the virtues of selflessness and sacrificial dedication to the well-being of others.
He called for commitment from all citizens in the promotion of national well-being and development to push the country forward.
Story by E. Kojo Kwarteng& Musah Yahaya Jafaru