His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has encouraged people in Kenema city to continue upholding religious and tribal tolerance.
He was unveilling the Themne Mosque on Blama Road in Kenema city for Islamic worshippers in that part of the country after major renovations and repairs to keep it pleasant and comfortable for prayers.
The work on the masjid and others in the Kenema district and across the country was done with the support of the President, whose love and passion for religious and tribal tolerance among citizens are exemplary.
The Themne Mosque is the eleventh masjid to benefit from the generosity of President Bio and First Lady Dr Fatima Bio’s philanthropic efforts at giving a befitting status to places of worship.
The President told Muslim worshippers and citizens of Kenema city, that he started his day by attending a church service at the Cathedral Church in the morning and later came to commission the Themne Mosque and also worshiped with the Muslim community.
“I was in Church this morning, and this afternoon, God has appointed and destined that I should worship with you in this mosque to pray to the same God, to ask for Allah’s forgiveness, to ask for directions, and for His own ordained power that He gave me to be the President of Sierra Leone.
“We are all aware of the fact that the power and authority in our hands are not ours, it is God who gives. The reason I am so particularly happy to be in your presence today is the fact that religion in this country, including Islam and Christianity, has never been used as a source of violence and conflict. Muslims pray to Allah, Christians pray to God, as we called one Supreme Creator with two different names as a result of the two different types of civilization that accepted the two religions.”
“The names of all the prophets of Allah or God are in the Bible and in the Holy Quran, respectively. But in other parts of the world, Muslims and Christians do not cross paths. They are always engaged in violence, which often results in the loss of lives. But for us in Sierra Leone, we have chosen that it is the same God or Allah. Therefore, we should be able to meet and talk without any forms of conflict,” he urged.
He also noted that what the country had been able to achieve with religious tolerance it had not been able to achieve with tribes, adding that that was because some politicians had used tribal lines to divide people for political gains mostly by those who did not have a message for the electorate.
“As the President of Sierra Leone, I don’t believe in tribalism. If you are fortunate enough to go to my house, you will notice that some of my grandchildren, nieces, friends and in-laws are all there. My sister is married to a Themne husband. Until very recently, my cook for a very long time was a Themne woman. Also, the first woman that I chose as running mate was a Themne woman, Dr Kadie Sesay and of course, my Vice President is from the north despite him being a Fullah,” he said.
Chief Imam for Themne Mosque, Alhaji Ibrahim Amin Conteh said: “We are grateful to Allah for what He has done for us as Muslims and as people of Sierra Leone. May Allah grant us heaven for all the praises and supplications we do here today. All Muslims worldwide are observing the holy month of Ramadan and the most important day in this month is the Night of Power.
“Some of us have been in Kenema District for the past 50 years and we have achieved a lot, established good businesses here, and given birth to children that cannot afford to live anywhere else in the country. Based on this fact, if we are united as a family, Allah will provide abundantly for the nation. May we be united in the ways President Julius Maada Bio so desires for the nation.”