By Hafsa Obeng, GNA
Accra, Nov. 8, GNA-Sheikh Arimiyao Shuaib, Spokesperson for the National Chief Imam has called for interfaith approach towards ending electoral violence before, during and after the 2020 elections.
He said this was because 90 percent of Ghanaians belonged to one faith or another and as such have the right to influence the behaviour of followers.
« As religious people, we cannot be part of violence because it is in contradiction to our teachings, believes and acts of faith. So let us join our hands and stay away from violence that would interfere with the current peace. »
He made this observation at a peace and advocacy symposium towards a peaceful elections, organised by the Baraka Policy Institute, on the theme « leveraging on our religious values in ensuring peaceful elections in Ghana », in Accra.
He said events of such nature were important in these times when the elections were drawing near and tensions were rising, saying the youth must always be the targeted to get them to reject the mindset of violence.
Sheikh Shuaib said the greatest injustice to be done to the youth was to reduce them into tools for election violence.
« Politicians take advantage of the vulnerabilities of the youth, their needs and the fact that they are not well informed and incite them into violence. Violence is evil, breaks, destroys and leaves in its wake pain, hatred and emotions. »
He said all religions must uphold peace, because it was the greatest asset that God ever gave to mankind, saying peace was coming to a meaningful survival and happy and good life and was necessary for every society to flourish.
« Integrity and credibility of election depends on peaceful environment. An environment which is free from intimidation, a threat to society, and does not restrain any electorate from exercising their franchise. »
Sheikh Shuaib added that both Islam and Christianity share certain common values and when upheld could make it the foundation to influence society.
Superintendent Imam Hussein Abdur Rahim Hussein, In Charge, Islamic Affairs, Ghana Police Mosque said it remains in the interest of Ghanaians to ensure that political parties put the interest of the country and people first.
He said « we owe it a duty to ourselves and our communities to encourage peace by using the fundamentals of the Quran to promote peace and condemn those who promote violence. »
He noted that a lot needs to be done as most Muslim communities were identified as hot spot zones, and as such the youth in these areas need to be engaged and made to understand and appreciate the need for peace.
« We must go beyond the social media platforms and have true engagements with the people we believe could cause problems. »
Rev. Dr Cyril Fayose, General Secretary, Christian Council of Ghana said peace was not just the absence of war, but when the is completeness, wholeness, prosperity, and the absence of dis-ease.
He said one thing the shatters peace and creates confusion and suffering was when human go contrary to the words God, adding that enforcing reconciliation, forgiveness, righteousness and justice were key values in maintaining peace.
Dr Haruna Zagoon-Sayeed, Executive Director (BPI), said politicians would do anything to have power, but struggling for power brings about lots of things, and as such there was the need to sit and deliberate on what to do to ensure the maintain the current peace in the nation.
He said Ghana was peaceful because Ghanaians were religious and all religious bodies in the country had values that ensured peace and it must be held on in these times to ensure to maintain and sustain peace.