Social welfare minister Blyden joined Muslims in Fourah Bay for Eid prayers

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 25 June 2017

Today was another day for me to thank the Almighty for ensuring that I was born in Sierra Leone, one of the most beautiful countries in the world with many lovely aspects its citizens can boast of.

One such attribute is that in a World confused by those who misinterpret teachings of their Holy Books to mean they should not tolerate others from different faiths, Sierra Leone’s high levels of inter religious acceptance is a source of pride.

I want to thank His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma for not only continuing to consolidate religious tolerance in our country but for taking it to unprecedented heights.

I feel so honoured and privileged to be one of the foot soldiers of President Koroma; helping to push his vision for our country into reality.

Today, I want to thank the Muslim Jamaat for allowing me, a Christian government minister, and my entourage of women leaders, to join them in today’s Eid-Ul-Fitri Ramadan prayers marking the end of the Muslim Holy Month of Fasting.

As President Koroma’s appointed Minister of Social Welfare, Gender & Children’s Affairs which oversees religious matters in the country, I visited and was warmly welcomed by Chief Imam Alhaji Hassan Karim and Assistant Chief Imam Alhaji Nazir King of the Jamiatul Atiq Masjid at Davies Street in Fourah Bay, Eastern Freetown.

I decided to worship here as this is one of the mosques along Freetown’s Foulah Town and Fourah Bay axis where my great-great grandfather Edward Wilmot Blyden (who died 1912) and his daughter, Madam Isa Blyden (died 1967) regularly prayed and also regularly taught Mohammedan Education despite being of the Christian faith. The Blydens are a very unique family.

I feel honoured today as their scion, to be so warmly welcomed here. As I sang along with the congregation that GOD IS GREAT (Allāhu ‘akbar الله أكبر) I lifted my beautiful country up in Prayers that we continue to be a beacon of light insofar as religious tolerance is concerned.

May the Almighty bless us all. Amen. Ameen.

Hon. Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden
Sunday June 25th 2017.

 

1 Comment

  1. While religious intolerance is wrecking communities in many parts of the world, we in Sierra Leone have to be exceedingly grateful that despite all our problems – and Allah/God knows that they are numerous – we have managed to steer clear of any conflict emanating from such a dastardly source.

    This is why we must be very alert to anybody, particularly foreigners, who may want to impose their idiosyncrasies on us and call it religion, be it Islam, Christianity or whatever. Those Sierra Leoneans who are easily swayed by anything foreign should be closely watched and warned from the onset that anything on their part which looks like having the potential to create widespread conflict in the name of religion will be ruthlessly dealt with.

    More than ever before, I have come to understand why the Senegalese President, Marky Sall, issued an order banning mosques in his country from bringing in clerics from outside. He insisted that his country had more than enough learned people to interpret the Quoran. And he is a practicing muslim too as I am.

    The presence of Sylvia Blyden in a mosque for Eid prayers was commendable and exemplary. It epitomised an inclination to foster harmony in a nation where the typical politician wants people to habitually believe that the nation is divided into ethnicity and region, thereby sowing the seeds of discord.

    Anytime one looks at the actions of Sylvia, one cannot fail to see that she is a Sierra Leonean first before she is anything else. This, to me, makes her shine brighter than all the public figures we currently have, including her boss the president.

    Not only does she speak out for the country, but always ready for a good fight too, within the confines of propriety and civility.

    I am still baffled by Ernest Koroma’s lack of vision in the early stages of his rule by not giving Sylvia the key Ministry of Energy and Power. He must be a poor judge of personality – a key prerequisite for an effective leader.

    I believe, with my entire being, that with Sylvia at the helm, most of Sierra Leone would have a constant supply of electricity and water. The girl is just too forceful. President Koroma has lost the chance of being spoken about as the man who said, let there be light and water, and there they were.

    Earnest “orpou thamror n’bormor”[meaning Earnest has lost the fight].

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