Accra, Aug. 22, GNA - Vice President Aliu Mahama on Sunday urged Muslims to discharge their social, political, economic and religious duties to complement the Government's efforts at moving Ghana forward. He asked them to embrace education as a catalyst to self-development and empowerment to enable them to fulfil their responsibilities and to play key roles in national development and reduce poverty.
Vice President Mahama, who was speaking at a grand durbar in Accra to climax the Fifth Convention of the Ahlussunna Wal-Jama'a, consequently encouraged Muslims to ensure that their children attain quality education to the highest level.
Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama'a means, 'the adherents to the Sunnah and the assembly and refers to Muslims who follow the way which the Prophet Muhammad and his companions led.'
The three-day convention, that was attended by delegates from all over Ghana and representatives of Kuwait, Togo, Nigeria and other ECOWAS countries, was under the theme: " Government and Religion, Partners in Development."
Vice President Mahama gave the assurance that the Government would continue to execute projects to ensure infrastructure development, enhance education, health, agriculture, sanitation among others to improve the standard of living of Ghanaians.
He, however, noted that the contribution of the private sector, religious organisations and civil society groups was crucial to complement the Government's efforts.
The Vice President stressed the need to maintain peace at all times, especially during political campaigns towards the December Elections in order not to undermine the process of development.
He noted that elections usually bred tension that could result in conflicts, even among families.
Vice President Mahama said: "You will be fed with all kinds of information and propaganda by the various political parties who are competing. My admonishing is that we should see ourselves as having a common aim of moving Ghana forward through different agenda. We should be united in diversity."
He, therefore, asked Muslim scholars and leaders to pray for, preach and practice peace, saying it was gratifying that the incessant conflicts that resulted from the doctrinal differences between the Ahlussunna and Tijaniyya had ceased in recent years.
Vice President Mahama reiterated his call to Muslim leaders to form joint committees for the amicable resolution of conflicts.
He warned Muslims against allowing themselves to be used for causing conflicts and confusion, saying Muslim communities had in the past been the recruiting grounds for participants in demonstrations, land guards and similar activities.
The Vice President also advised Muslims to be disciplined, guard against HIV/AIDS and to join the mutual health insurance schemes in their communities.
Sheikh I.C. Quaye, Greater Accra Regional Minister, said Muslims should emulate the lifestyle of the Prophet Muhammad, who was honest, just, merciful, truthful and compassionate.
The General Secretary of Ahlussunna Wal-Jama'a , Sheikh Yacub Shuaib Abban, said the sect had since 1997 undertaken several projects to improve both primary and secondary education.
It has built two senior secondary schools in the Central and Western Regions and provided scholarships to brilliant but needy children. Other projects, Sheikh Abban said, had been executed to provide potable water and good health.
The National Imam of Ahlussunna, Sheikh Umar Ibrahim, pledged that his sect would continue to work in concert with the Government to ensure the peace and progress of the nation.