President asks Muslims to use bond of friendship to advance development
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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Monday said Ghana is a blessed nation with people with different faiths who have lived together in peace and harmony.


He, therefore, urged Ghanaians to cherish the long existing bond that existed among them and use it for advancing the cause of the country.


“As a Christian, am deeply respectful of the Islamic faith, which together with Christianity and Judaism, are called the Abrahamic faith and we must therefore emphasise on things that bind us rather than the ones that divide us,” he stressed.


President Akufo-Addo said this at the occasion of the Eid-ul-Fitr celebration at the Black Stars Square in Accra, to mark the end of 30 days of fasting and prayers.


The President described Sheikh Dr Osman Nuhu Shaributu, the Chief Imam, as the true icon of our generation, adding that his actions exemplified the principles of the founding fathers of the nation.


He noted that the Chief Imam epitomised the Islamic principle of peace and that his attitudes had promoted religious tolerance in the country and, therefore, asked for long life for him so that the nation would continue to benefit from his wisdom.


He said Muslims had found favour with Allah for dedicating themselves and asked for His blessings for themselves, communities and nation. The President asked Muslims to pray for him and members of his government so that they would govern in accordance with Allah’s will.


The President said he would continue to commit to the principles of the 1992 Constitution by ensuring fairness to all Ghanaians irrespective of their religious beliefs. He said the New Patriotic Party government had lived the manifesto commitment to the Zongo Communities by appointing a Minister Responsible for Inner City and Zongo Development and also established a Zongo Development Fund. 


He said the Government had set aside GH¢219 million as a seed money for the Zongo Development Fund and in the process of fashioning out a legislation to guide the use of the fund.


In addition, the President said, the Minister for Inner City and Zongo Development, Alhaji Boniface Abubakar Saddique, was undertaking a nationwide consultative process to solicit ideas on the use of the fund in line with the government’s bottom-top approach on development.


The President encouraged all persons living in Zongo areas to participate in those meetings and contribute ideas that would enable them to fashion out a blue-print that would be acceptable and practicable and would inure to the benefit of all people living in Zongo Communities and inner cities.


‘‘It is time we bring prosperity to all parts of our country and am confidence that this year, the organisation of the pilgrimage of the Hajj to the holy place under the leadership of an experienced and outstanding public servant Sheikh Ibrahim Cudjoe Quaye would be well organised and go without a hitch,’’ said.


The President noted that religion was a double edged sword that could be invoked for destructive purposes and, therefore, urged Muslims to be wary of extremists who would propagate religious beliefs that would be destructive for their selfish gains. He urged Muslims to continue to hold hands in brotherhood and unity for accelerated national development.


He appealed to Muslim parents to uphold the dignity of Muslim girls by enrolling them in school so that they would become responsible adults and contribute their quota to national development.


President Akufo-Addo entreated them to continue upholding the virtues of tolerance, devotion and discipline even after the Ramadan for the greater good of the nation and themselves. He asked them to celebrate the occasion in moderation in order to ensure accident-free Eid.


In a sermon, Sheikh Shaributu, reminded Muslims to abide by Allah’s commandments by living holy lives that were acceptable to Allah. He urged them to show love to the poor and needy in the society by supporting them in various ways in order to invoke Allah’s blessings.


The Chief Imam reiterated the call for Muslim parents to educate their children by supporting them physically, emotionally, socially and financially for their intellectual development. He tasked parents and guardians to imbibe in their children the teachings of the Holy Scriptures so that they would grow up as responsible adults.


Sheikh Shaributu urged government to invest in children’s education and institute measures to prevent human trafficking.


Some of the dignitaries that graced the occasion included the Vice President Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and his wife Samira as well as members of Parliament and Muslim clerks.


The occasion brought together large gathering of Muslims from all walks of life who prayed and made merry.


Source: GNA