I want to thank His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma for not only continuing to consolidate religious tolerance in our country but for taking it to unprecedented heights. I feel so honoured and privileged to be one of the foot soldiers of President Koroma; helping to push his vision for our country into reality.
Today, I want to thank the Muslim Jamaat for allowing me, a Christian government minister, and my entourage of women leaders, to join them in today’s Eid-Ul-Fitri Ramadan prayers marking the end of the Muslim Holy Month of Fasting.
As President Koroma’s appointed Minister of Social Welfare, Gender & Children’s Affairs which oversees religious matters in the country, I visited and was warmly welcomed by Chief Imam Alhaji Hassan Karim and Assistant Chief Imam Alhaji Nazir King of the Jamiatul Atiq Masjid at Davies Street in Fourah Bay, Eastern Freetown. I decided to worship here as this is one of the mosques along Freetown’s Foulah Town and Fourah Bay axis where my great-great grandfather Edward Wilmot Blyden (who died 1912) and his daughter, Madam Isa Blyden (died 1967) regularly prayed and also regularly taught Mohammedan Education despite being of the Christian faith. The Blydens are a very unique family.
I feel honoured today as their scion, to be so warmly welcomed here. As I sang along with the congregation that GOD IS GREAT (Allāhu ‘akbar الله أكبر) I lifted my beautiful country up in Prayers that we continue to be a beacon of light insofar as religious tolerance is concerned.
May the Almighty bless us all.
Hon. Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden
Sunday June 25th 2017.