In Sierra Leone ….
Interfaith Group worried over deteriorating Political Intolerance
By Marcus Mark
The Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone has expressed concern over the increasing intolerance between Christians and Muslims in the country.
Reverend Jesse Osman Fornah, who is the Secretary General of the Inter Religious Council of Sierra Leone, has said in Freetown that a number of recent upheavals between Muslims and Christians in Mambolo, Northern Sierra Leone, and Allen Town in the East of Freetown, to name few,have sparked concerns among members of the inter-faith body.
Churches have been burnt in all of the above incidents and these incidences, according to him, were investigated and the reports were presented to government for action.He highlighted a number of issues that continue to challenge the peaceful coexistence. He mentionedthe close proximity between churches and mosques in some communities and the type of messages preached by Imams and Pastors in Mosques and Churches.
Rev Fornah noted that they have developed a code of conduct, which they expect would guide the peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims in the country. He expressed the fact that they are yet to receive the endorsement from Government to commence the process that will eventually transform this code of conduct into law
The Inter Religious Council of Sierra Leone (IRCSL) was very pivotal innegotiating the end of the country’s civil war and also served as moral guarantors in the Lome Peace Accord.
The IRCSL has recently issued a press release as Muslims across the country commence one month of prayers and fasting.They have urged Imams and other Muslim leaders to refrain from preaching messages that will endanger the stability and the peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Christians in their various communities.
The IRCSL has also reminded Muslim leaders to preach messages that will support breastfeeding, the Free and Quality Education,while discouraging teenage pregnancy and rape within their communities.The Imams have a very huge platform to promote responsible habits and behaviuors and also discourage negative ones.
Sierra Leone is noted for its high religious tolerance in the sub region, where Muslims and Christians continue to have intermarriages and peaceful coexistence. The IRCSL model is very unique in the world, the sub region and the country continues to be commended around the world for this virtue, but the increasing hitches between Muslims and Christians has become a cause for concern.