Rescue Islam from hands of extremists – Prez Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged Muslims in the country to rescue the image of Islam from the hands of violent extremist whose actions since the turn of the century has brought the image of the peaceful religion into disrepute.

He admonished Muslim youths across the country to be wary of irresponsible politicians who may want to use them to perpetrate acts of violence in the run-up to the 2020 elections.
He made this call when he addressed the maiden inauguration and fundraising of the Tijjanniya Muslim Council in Accra yesterday.
He said, “I know that the ideologies that extremist groups preach is not based on Islamic canon. It is for you to rescue Islam from the extremists whose activities around the world seem to be defining Islam.”
He continued, “Islam in the 21st century is at the crossroads. It is a sad commentary on the religion of peace that today it is credited with being responsible for the acts of radicalism, extremism, violence and destabilization taking place around the world by ISIL, Al Qaeda and Boko Haram. While we may meet in places like this and say that what they profess is not true Islam, the reality is that we have allowed the extremists to hijack the religion of peace. We have allowed them to pervert its values. We have allowed them to define it.”
The president urged all peace loving Muslims to speak up against this ideology.
President Nana Akufo-Addo also urged Muslim youth to shun violence and seek the path of knowledge while concerning themselves with building a better future for themselves.
He urged Muslim youths to take the guidance of their Shaykhs seriously, and also take advantage of the possibilities available under his government’s programmes to develop their talents, and become responsible citizens.
“Muslim youth cannot continue to be the ones who are used for violent purposes. I want to make this appeal to you: in 2020, do not allow yourselves to be used by irresponsible politicians to engage in acts of destabilisation and violence”, he added.
Expressing his appreciation to Sheikh Khalifa Abul faidi Ahmed Maikano, leader of the Tijanniya Muslim faith, for the invitation, President Akufo-Addo applauded the decision taken to establish the Tijanniya Muslim Council to guide and supervise the activities of the adherents of the Tijanniya Muslim faith.
Citing the implementation of policies such as the free Senior High School Policy and the establishment and operation of the Zongo Development Fund, the President explained that all efforts at development will come to naught if Ghanaians do not live in harmony with people of other faiths.
“A considerable part of the peace and stability Ghana enjoys is due to the long-standing relationship of peaceful co-existence, founded on religious tolerance, between Christians and Muslims in our country. We must do everything to ensure that this situation continues. It is one of the most positive, and most acclaimed, hallmarks of our nation. And, I want to commend members of the Tijanniya faith for their great contribution to this development,” he added.

According to President Akufo-Addo, it is a sad commentary on the religion of peace that, today, Islam is credited with being responsible for all the acts of radicalism, extremism, violence and destabilisation taking place around the world by ISIL, Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram.
“While we may meet in places like this, and say that what they profess is not true Islam, the reality is that we have allowed the extremists to hijack the religion of peace; we have allowed them to pervert its values; we have allowed them to define it,” he said.
He, thus, urged all peace-loving Muslims speak up, adding that “let our youth shun violence. Let our youth seek the path of knowledge, for it is the path of illumination. Let us concern ourselves with building a better future for ourselves here on earth, and the goodies of the hereafter will follow.”
Whilst wishing the Tijaniyya Muslim Council the best in its efforts at developing the Muslim Ummah in Ghana, he assured that his Government “is a willing partner with you in that endeavour.”
President Akufo-Addo reiterated that “the Minister for Inner City and Zongo Development will work with you to ensure that you get all the support to make the school project a reality.”
National secretary of the Tijaniya Muslim Council, Mallam Abdallah Ahmad Azhar, in his address explained that the inauguration of the council would help to improve the Tijanniyya order specifically, and Islam as a whole in Ghana.
He also hoped that with the setting up of this Council, the relations between Tijanniyya and other ethnic and religious groupings would improve as well as help galvanise the local people in improving the local community.
Fundamentally, the aim of this council is to publicise and promote the work of Sheikh Ahmad Tijani and the late Sheikh Abdalla Maikano Jallo.
It will also make rules and standing orders to for the different category of members and make them aware of their rights, as well as organize, meetings, training courses and events, among other functions.
He prayed government to help the Council create jobs for the teeming number of youth and women in the sect.
He called on government to consider giving them representation on the Hajj board and other state institutions as has been done for other religious bodies, as according to him, “our Tijanniyya sect has not been given the due recognition despite our numbers in this successive governments like other sects.”
About GH₵5,000 was raised towards the construction of the Sheikh Abdullah Maikano Memorial Educational Centre of Excellence in the Prang Traditional area in the Pru West District of the Bono East region.

Source: Selorm GBORBIDZI,

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