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08.12.2005 General News

VEEP calls on religious bodies to wage war against poverty

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Accra, Dec. 8, GNA - Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama said on Thursday that Ghanaians could make great strides in the battle against poverty if they translated their religious values into hard work, responsibility, thrift and respect for rules and regulations. "Ghanaians are reputed to be God fearing people, virtually every household follows a set of doctrines and principles, which they believe connects them to the divine," he observed.

Vice President Mahama was addressing the 76th National Annual Convention of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission, Ghana, in Accra on the theme: "The Impact of Religion On Ghanaians and Society". "The issue then! Brothers and sisters is, whether the values we profess in our faith translate into positive impact on national unity, stability and the general well being of our neighbours," he asked. The three-day convention has attracted delegates from the 10 regions, members of the Diplomatic Corps and some representatives of the political parties and other religions faiths.

Vice President Mahama noted that the deep-seated adherence to Godly principles among the citizenry had contributed a great deal to the current level of political stability in the country. "Perhaps without faith in our beliefs, we may have been overcome by the problems of ethnicity, culture and poverty." Vice President Mahama warned that the very attitudes of conciliation and peace making that have helped the country was also threatening.

"First and foremost, we tend to be passive when our neighbours openly indulge in activities capable of wrecking the nation. This undermines the rule of law and encourages indiscipline." He said differences in religion had sometimes been exploited to promote the selfish aims of those, who sought to dominate their fellow man.

Vice President Mahama said religious groups must realise that irrespective of belief they were part of a State. Membership of a State brings benefits and duties. Religion must therefore teach one not only to exist passively but to also engage as a citizen.

Maulvi Wahab Adam, Head and Missionary in charge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission, Ghana, condemned the glorification of superstition in all aspects of national life.

He said superstition was deeply rooted that as a result long periods were spent on funerals and incarcerating people as witches. "We spend scarce resources that are better reserved for orphans and widows on the purchase of expensive coffins, choicest drinks and in recent times, sumptuous take away meals. In our part of the world, more money is spent on the dead than on the living." Maulvi Adam said though drinking was the cause of some of the numerous road accidents, there was deep-seated superstition that the devil was behind these accidents. "Imagine that in the 21st Century, we spend a lifetime catching witches. Yes always witches, not wizards and generally old and vulnerable women."

Maulvi Adam noted: "Let us admit that so far, we as religious bodies, have not found any satisfactory answer to the often repeated question that if the majority of the people of the country are worshipers of God, how come there is so much of indiscipline, immorality and embezzlement in our society?"

Maulvi Adam said it was worth noting however that religion had contributed immensely to several aspects of national endeavour, adding that it was only right to take note of where one fell short in order to keep to the right path.

Maulvi Adam condemned recent calls to legalise prostitution as a check against the spread of HIV/AIDS. "What ever reasons lie behind these calls can only be found in philosophies that fail to take into account the teachings of God," he observed.