Ghanaian Vice-President opens MWL conference on promoting rights and duties of minorities
His Excellency Vice-President of the Republic of Ghana Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia inaugurated the International Conference organized by the Muslim World League in the Ghanaian capital under the title "Religious and Ethnic Minorities ... Rights and Duties", with the participation of His Excellency Secretary General of MWL, Sheikh Dr. Muhammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa and a number of selected Excellences and Eminences.
Dr. Bawumia stressed the paramount importance and seriousness of the theme of the Conference, saying he was heartened by his presence and participation in the discussion of an important issue seeking to achieve national and social harmony and peace through the consolidation of the culture of preserving the minority rights and their performance of duties.
He pointed out that faith is the element and the driver leading most of humankind and forming its life systems, and this is why the topic discussed in the symposium is doubly important. He said that granting religious minorities their full rights, status, positive integration into society, their full participation in all matters of their homeland and ensuring performance of their full national duties honestly are the best way to build just and equal societies where holistic shift is achieved and national and religious discrimination is eliminated.
His Excellency the Vice-President spoke of the MWL's initiative to bring these important issues to the discussion table. His Excellency also commended His Excellency Dr. Al-Issa's ceaseless desire and willingness to provide all support and help required to promote dialogue, peace, coexistence and positive national integration, and take part in supporting the humanitarian and development work targeting the poor, the needy and the orphans.
For his part, Dr. Al-Issa stressed that the MWL is pleased to organize this significant conference and always wishes to be a forum collecting the shared values which Allah Almighty has granted to the humankind so life would go on a straight path that pleases everyone in their harmony, peace, rise and development.
Dr. Al-Issa asserted that achieving that hope will only take place when everyone lives under the umbrella of love, tolerance and understanding the Almighty Creator's way with regard to difference and diversity, and when open brotherly dialogue prevails.
He added: "We will not find the harmony and peace that we seek and will not eliminate the suffering of many poor, disadvantaged, persecuted and oppressed people around the world, unless when we vanquish the brutality that is still dominant in some hearts. Besides, we will not reach the true happiness in its world unless when we take into account bringing joy to others and keeping evil away from them."
The SG of MWL went on: "In Islam, our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, says: "No one of you becomes a true believer until he likes for his brother what he likes for himself.", and Allah commands us to be kind, good and fair to everyone, regardless of their religions and races." He asserted that today's world is in a dire need to activate the humanitarian commonalities, some of which are sufficient to bring the desired peace and harmony around the world.
He continued: “We say this in the face of the greedy materialistic view which sees only its own interests to the detriment of the rights and the pain of others, and then developers of this theory come to blame on the religions for the clash of civilizations, while the fact is that religions disavow that, because religion is primarily based on bringing joy to humans in the worldly life and the hereafter, but the values of religions unmask that theory and face its immoral challenges."
Dr. Al-Issa pointed out that this materialistic conception lacking values and principles recognizes that religions are the threat to its reputation and entity. Throughout its history, this conception tried to distort its image and hold it the responsibility of any extremism or terrorism dressed in a fake religious cloak. He highlighted fabrications experienced by the religions throughout history. He also underscored dark ages in which the Enlightenment in the West had been hindered for decades because of the religious extremism having no relation with the correct religion, injustice and persecution suffered by followers of religions including Muslims, Christians, Jews and others
Dr. Al-Issa added: “We are all aware that the absence of the correct and accurate piece of information would lead to misunderstanding or deliberate negative interpretation due to the rooting of hatred and racism together with fearing others and the possibility of the civilizational clash.” He also stressed that the countries of coexistence and religious and ethnic harmony could overcome these evil orientations and extremist ideas and took the path of religious, political and intellectual moderation and temperance that is the key base for any stability and development. He concluded his speech by extending gratitude to the Vice-President of the Republic of Ghana for attending the conference. Dr. Al-Isaa also thanked the Ghanaian leadership and people for their generosity.
For his part, the Secretary General of the Conference of Ghana Catholic Bishops Pope Lazuris Anund stressed the importance of holding this conference in Africa that is characterized by a wide variety of religions and cultures, confirming that the leaders of religions represent the hope to achieve harmony and peace away from differences and clashes.
Pope Lazuris Anund pointed out that the coexistence between the Islamic traditions and rituals from one hand and principles and rituals of Christianity would result in peace and prosperity among different peoples. He added: “Cooperation and understanding are required things to achieve harmony and peace among peoples with different faiths.”
Pope Lazuris Anund made clear that leaders of religions should work together to get rid of the hassles of the past and present. They also should work on common human denominators to be able to confront all policies of corruption, forms of extremism, violence and negative competition with the aim of achieving the positive integration and fruitful partnerships that would lead to prosperity, peace and stability. Director of the Islamic Center of Education and Development of the Republic of Ghana Sheikh Ibrahim Kudjo Kwai confirmed that the MWL led by Dr. Muhammad Al-Issa has come a considerable distance in the path of peace and global harmony.
Sheikh Ibrahim Kudjo Kwai said: “The theme of the symposium was carefully chosen. This coincides with the outspread of manifestations of religious extremism that violated the rights of all people without exception. Consequently, we seek to contribute to discussing of the problems of minorities and stopping violence together with achieving sustainable development for all people without discrimination.”
Advisor of the President of the Republic of Burkina Faso Dr. Abu Bakr Abdullah Dakhouri praised the human goals of the symposium calling for abiding by the humanitarian brotherhood necessitated by Islam.
It is worth mentioning that the conference was attended by high-ranking religious, media and political figures of various affiliations. The symposium discussed a raft of pressing minority issues, most notably national and common denominators, the cultural rights of multi-religious communities and the role of religious education and bodies in achieving citizenship and promoting coexistence among religions together with elements and obstacles to social peace.