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UNIMAK takes Religious Tolerance to another level

UNIMAK takes Religious Tolerance to another level

The University of Makeni’s Centre for Social Transformation has organized a three days conference for religious leaders drawn from across the country. The event, which was based on the theme: “Celebrating Religious Tolerance”, was held at the New UNIMAK Auditorium in Makeni from 1st to 3rd May 2014.  Three key topics served as a basis for discussion during the three days. They are: Religious tolerance and the status quo; Religious Tolerance: Challenges and Opportunities; and the way forward in sustaining religious tolerance.

Father Gabriel Koroma is a Parish Priest at the Saint Francis Parish.  He informed the gathering that religious leaders have played and continue to play a pivotal role in enhancing peace, development and spiritual growth of the country. He admonished his brothers and sisters from the Christian and Islamic Faith to embrace each other so that Sierra Leoneans continue to enjoy peace, love and unity.

The Head of Centre for Social Transformation at UNIMAK, Father Francis Sehdu Sesay described the event as not only of the mind but an action oriented one whose desired goal should be achieved. He noted that religious tolerance was there before, but it seems as if some huddles are creeping slowly into it, which calls for action. “We now see people introducing different doctrines that are not good for their worshippers and the nation,” he said, adding that the conference will help restore the lost glory and revive the good tidings in religious tolerance.

Giving an overview of the conference, Reverend Father Joseph Turay told his audience that religious people have played a key role in bringing peace to Sierra Leone. After the war, he said the United Nations sent in an Expert to assess religious tolerance. His advice by then was that the success story he has seen must be maintained. This, he said requires constant engagement of religious leaders with the aim of not only celebrating religious tolerance but also discuss the way forward.

The Apostolic Administrator of Makeni Dioses, Father Natalio Panganelli said UNIMAK has been working towards social transformation to ensure a peaceful society. “I am happy to report that Sierra Leone is the best country in religious tolerance. It is good to sustain this trend in order to prevent strife,” he said.

The Centre, he said want to help ensure a better society to prevent religious conflict as it happens in other countries. Father Panganelli called on Sierra Leoneans to fight against religious intolerance and embrace peace and development.

Reverend Dr. Osman Fornah is the General Secretary of Inter Religious Council of Sierra Leone. He pointed out that the Council is the most reliable and dependable organization that is committed to peace and development of the country. “We still have the problem of disintegration, but we thank God that UNIMAK has brought religious leaders together to work in full gear to sustain religious tolerance,” he said.

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