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28.10.2005 General News

America is not against Islam - Head of Embassy Political Section

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Larabaga (N/R), Oct. 28, GNA - The United States is not against Islam as being misconstrued by some Muslims, Mr. Scott Ticknor, Political Section chief of the United States Embassy has stated. He explained that even though many Muslims had suffered as a result of terrorism, it did not mean the United States was against Islam. "The US is fighting a war against global terrorism and not a war against Islam. We know that Islam is a religion of peace and the large majority of Muslims have joined Americans to oppose terrorism", Mr. Ticknor said.

Mr. Ticknor was speaking at Larabaga, a Muslim community in the West Gonja District, when he presented 50 bags of rice, 20 bags of sugar and 30 charcoal pots to the people on behalf of the American Embassy in Ghana.

The presentation was part of the commitment to build a strong foundation of friendship between the US Embassy and the Ghanaian Muslim Community.

"As you may know, there are some seven million Muslim Americans and Islam is the fastest growing religion in America today", he said. "We have the greatest respect for Islam as one of the world's great religions. President Bush hosted an Iftaar in the White House last week and there is a Koran in the White House Library", he added. Mr. Ticknor announced that the US government had over the past seven years provided 12 million dollars annually to assist Muslims communities in the areas of education and health infrastructure, learning materials and equipment as well as the construction of community centres.

He said about 200,000 people had so far benefited from such facilities throughout Ghana.

Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, Northern Regional Minister, who accompanied officials of the US Embassy, told the people that the American government cherished Islam because it is a religion of peace. He urged the people to appreciate the Embassy's gesture and start to build cordial relations with the American people and to promote better cooperation to ensure peace in the world.

He said the Embassy had recognised Larabaga as a seat of Islam in Northern Ghana hence the donation and advised them to cooperate with tourists visiting the community.

Larabaga is home to tourist attractions such as the "Mystic Stone", the Larabaga Mosque and the Mole National Park.

The Chief of Larabaga, Alhaji Ibrahim Abutu, who received the items thanked the American people for the gesture and appealed to the Embassy to help them to rehabilitate the mosque. The Embassy made similar presentation to Muslims groups in Tamale.