President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has charged Ghanaians to let their religious nature be reflected in all their doings.
He said the practice of religion in communities was not limited to prayer and worship only but was a way of life that Ghanaians should be able to use positively in providing the guidance that was needed for the progress of the country.
President Akufo-Addo said this when he addressed the 85th anniversary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission at Pomadze, near Winneba in the Central Region yesterday.
It was on the theme: “Engendering patriotism: The role of religion”.
The President said it was the individual commitment and the collective will of the people of Ghana to the national goal that would determine whether there would be success or not.
“We invariably tend to leave the well-being of our souls to the religious authorities. They obviously are doing better at massing the support of the citizenry than the civil authorities. It is time we enlisted the help of religious bodies in engendering patriotism to engender the love of our nation,” he said.
He said it had become obvious that the political authorities needed to learn some lessons from the religious authorities.
“The religious bodies and institutions have demonstrated an amazing capacity at organising and inspiring our populations. They are able to fill the churches and mosques far more easily than any political or traditional authority can gather crowds regularly,” he added.
Exploiting religion positively
On the other hand, he said, it was important to acknowledge that religion could also be exploited to pose grave dangers to society, saying today people committed many dastardly deeds in the name of religion, while others killed and maimed their fellow citizens in the name of zealous adherence to a set of wayward religious beliefs.
“We must not allow our religions to be perverted by self-seeking people. There can be nothing patriotic about such behaviour,” he charged.
Rather, he said, it was the positive attributes that must be exploited to help build the nation.
“It is a beautiful sight to behold when believers fellowship together in oneness and unity. We need that unity and oneness to build our nation. It is a beautiful sight to behold when believers strive to be counted among those who contribute to the building of their mosque or church. We need that same sense of dedication towards our nation,” he urged.
“Our commitment to fellow Ghanaians is the fundamental virtue that binds us and keeps us safe. We need to re-order our nation in order to become the successful nation we aspire to be. Jesus and Mohammed taught that patriotism is as important as fidelity to religious creed. We must commit to serving our nation as we are to serving God,” he admonished.
He cited examples that “the public official who demands a bribe to perform his duties cannot be said to be religious or patriotic. The teacher in the public sector who only goes to teach once a week cannot be said to be religious or patriotic. The top politician who insists on a 10 per cent cut before he approves a public transaction cannot be religious or patriotic”.
President Akufo-Addo said adherence to religious creed and ethics would translate into patriotic commitment to the ideals of Ghana and the principles that the country’s forebears fought for.
Maulvi Bin Salih
The Head and Missionary in charge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission, Alhaj Maulvi Mohammed Bin Salih, said the mission was prepared to partner the President’s administration towards the attainment of his vision for Ghana.
He stressed the need for all believers in the Muslim faith to be patriotic by faithfully participating in the democratic processes and obeying the laws of the land.
He said Ghanaians had singled out the President as the one man worthy of their trust and that it was now time for him also to be fair and just to all manner of Ghanaians.
“In so doing, you will carve a niche for yourself by proving by word and deed that you are a unifying factor, that you can heal the wounds that we have inflicted upon ourselves and that you can assuage the emotions and pent-up feelings that have accumulated in us,” he admonished.