By Alpha Saidu Bangura

Monday January 23, 2006

From the bottom of my heart I thank the president, Alhaji Ahmed Tejan Kabba and the Inspector-general of police, Mr. Brima Acha-Kamara for not listening to a few fanatic Muslims who wanted to stop the Eastern Paddle Society from parading the streets of Freetown on EID-UL-AHDA day.As a devout Muslim, myself, I would like my Muslim brothers and sisters to understand that Sierra Leone belongs to every Sierra Leonean(Muslims,Christians and Non-believers).Therefore all Sierra Leoneans must be treated equally and fairly.
The Eastern Paddle parade held on EID-UL-AHDA DAY is a cultural activity for every Sierra Leonean.This parade have been held on EID-UL-AHDA day for over fifty(50) years now. It is the constitutional responsibility of government to promote and sustain our culture. It will be very unfair to stop it only because Muslims do not like it to be held on that day. I hope and pray that my fellow Muslims will keep in their minds that Sierra Leone is not an Islamic country and it is not govern by sharia law.From time in memorial we Sierra Leoneans (Muslims, Christians and non-believers) have been getting along amicably.That is what makes us a very unique nation.  At this point we should not allow one group to impose its religious believes on others.
One of the fundamental principles of democracy is peoples freedom to associate themselves with any group of their choice as long as they do it in a lawful and orderly manner. I am sure if  our Christian brothers and sister want to stop all public activities on Christmas and Easter, knowing my fellow Muslims well as I do, they(Muslims) will be displeased.All of us(Muslims,Christians and non-believers) celebrate Christian holidays together. Please, let us continue get along peacefully and with respect for each other.
I will conclude by appealing to president Kabba, to tell our brother and sisters in Islam that the role of the president of Sierra Leone is different from the role of the chief Imam of Sierra Leone.The president up holds and defends the constitution of Sierra Leone.The constitution(which is the supreme law) protects the rights and privileges of all Sierra Leoneans.The role of the chief Imam is to defend and spread the words of the QURAN to Muslims.We should never allow Islam to be institutionalized in Sierra Leone.Once again I thank president and his police chief for standing up for the rights of all our people.

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