By Amy Brima
Presidential Spokesman, Abdulai Bayraytay has on Friday, March 10, 2017 performed the grand opening ceremony of the Masjid Al-Taqwala Mosque at Bengah village, few miles from Pujehun town in Southern Sierra Leone.
In his opening remarks, Bayraytay expressed appreciation to the elders of the mosque and the community of Bengah for the opportunity accorded him to perform the grand opening of their mosque.
Bayraytay paid special tribute to His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma for approving his attendance to what he described as a novel event.
In his pre-commissioning remarks, Bayraytay reminded the congregation of the teachings of Islam that calls for the promotion of peace and tolerance at all times. He indicated that the blessings and reward for the construction of a place of worship like a mosque is that of Heaven. –
The Presidential Spokesman paid special tribute to His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma for his unprecedented promotion of religious tolerance in Sierra Leone. “As you may all know, President Koroma is a fervent Christian, but his support to Islam, especially in sending hundreds of Mulsims to the Holy land to perform the pilgrimage, remains unprecedented in the history of our country”, the Presidential Spokesman said amidst loud applause.
Mr. Bayraytay further appealed to the congregation to translate the virtues of religious tolerance, as espouses by President Koroma, to that of political open-mindedness by ensuring that the forthcoming elections are free of any form of violence. “This is where I will encourage you all to be united and abhor any forms of tribal and regional bigotry”, he said. Repeated incantations of “Allahu Akbar” filled the air as Bayraytay officially opened the mosque.
Touching on the elections date announced by the National electoral Commission (NEC), the Presidential spokesman encouraged all Sierra Leoneans including those that will be eighteen years old by Match 7, 2018 to go out and register enmasse between March 20 and April 16 this year as announced by the National Electoral Commission (NEC).
In his good will message, the Resident Minister East, Mr. Karamoh Kabba praised and congratulated the people of Bengah for their tremendous efforts in preventing Ebola from entering their village in spite the proximity to neighbouring Liberia.
The Resident Minister called on the community to abhor any form of ethnic politics and remain united for the development of their country, indicating that “the development vision of President Koroma is one that transcends boundaries, tribe and region. “This is where politics is not about the transfer of any political baton, as some may want you to believe, but being rewarded based on the development one brings to communities across the country”, Karamoh Kabba eloquently stated.
In his statement, the pioneer for the construction of the mosque, erstwhile Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Alhaji Moijue Kaikai praised President Koroma for the continued support that enables him to construct schools, mosques and community centres across Pujehun district. He said apart from politics, he believes in development and when he was approached by the people of Bengah for the construction of a mosque, he immediately jumped on the idea.
“Today, I am a very proud man. The vision we started few months ago is now a reality. This is where I will singularly praise President Koroma for his personal financial as well as his moral support in making this dream a reality”, Mr. Kaikai stated, adding that “I am also grateful that President Koroma approved his spokesman to come and perform this grand opening.
The former Minister ended on an emotional tone when he said he will continue to call on Allah to provide for all those willing to sacrifice the self for the general good of the people. “This is where I remain grateful to Allah for his providence and I hope and pray that He guides and directs me to spend for humanity”, Moijue Kaikai concluded.
In his opening remarks, the chairman of the occasion, Sheikh Alhaji Bashiru Jalloh said the opening of the mosque at Bengah was huge blessing in the sight of Allah. He singled out Moijue Kaikai with lavished praises for his continued support to the development of the district even before he was appointed a Government Minister. “Today, Mr. Kaikai is not in Government. But we continue to be very proud of his development strides in the district. It is very visible in all corners of our district for everyone to see”, Sheikh Jalloh stated amidst chanting of Allahu Akbar (God is great).
Sheikh Jalloh concluded by calling on Muslims to be united and law abiding, emphasizing that Islam is a peaceful religion.
Other speakers included the Pujehun district Chief Imam, Alhaji Abdul Majeed Fuad Kawa, the Bo district Chief Imam who also spoke on behalf of the President of the United Council of Imams, Sierra Leone, Alhaji Mustapha Coker, and representative of the Sierra Leone Police e Local Unit Commander, Nathaniel Bannister.