Effiduase (Ash), Sept. 5, GNA - Vice President Aliu Mahama has advised Muslims to mobilise their energies and resources to fight poverty, which is their real enemy and not themselves.
Addressing a grand durbar of the Chiefs and people at Effiduase in the Sekyere East District and later, the Muslim Community at Asawase, Kumasi, the Vice President said, it was unacceptable that violence should erupt because of the doctrinal differences between the Ahlussuna and Al Tijaniyya sects.
"We are all worshiping the same God and the varying mode of worship should not be a source of conflict," he said. "We need to tolerate each other to maintain the peace in our communities so that we can unite to solve the real enemies of poverty, illiteracy and under-development."
He referred to the bloody clashes and the destruction of schools and mosques at Effiduase in 2001, following a dispute between the two Muslim sects, saying, instead of utilising the educational facilities to improve themselves, they burnt them down.
Their action, he said, was tantamount to cutting their noses to spite their own faces.
He said efforts were underway to implement the Ayisi Boateng Committee, which investigated the conflict and made recommendations but added that, they should always use dialogue to settle their scores. The Vice President asked his religious companions to emulate Christians who are able to co-exist peacefully in spite of the availability of more than 1,000 churches.
Muslims, the Vice President said, should lead disciplined and responsible lives and complained that it was shameful that most arrests of armed robbers included Muslims.
The Queen mother of Effiduase, Nana Konadu Yiadom said, though there had been no clashes since the 2001 incident, some tension exist, because of the anxiety of the victims awaiting compensation. She commended the government for executing development projects to improve health, education, agriculture and income generating activities. At Asawase, the Chief Imam of the Ashanti Region, Imburan Musa said, since his area heeded to the Vice President's counsel on religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence, there had been no violent clashes between the two sects.
He appealed to the National Tertiary Council of Education to implement an affirmative action policy that would increase admission of Muslim students to the universities.