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Sierra Leone News: Late President Tejan Kabbah was Religious Tolerant

The late President Tejan KabbahIndeed, the late former President, Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah was not only a man of peace, but was religiously tolerant as well.
Despite haven ascended the presidency at a very difficult moment in the history of Sierra Leone, with verbal bashings from every corner, the late man endured, used his God-given wisdom, turned his back on his adversaries and turned what most Sierra Leoneans opposed and saw it as an impossible mission and brought peace to a nation that was at a brink of becoming a failed state.
But what gave the former President the courage to handle what was perceived a difficult thing to handle.
Born to a Muslim family, the late man was taught the hard way to have the fear of God and love for humanity.
From childhood to adulthood, Pa Kabbah, as he became popularly known, grew in the fear of God that he would not want to hurt a fly. Though trying to maintain and keep his peace with God and man, he had those that were opposed to his ideals, which is normal.
“In this life, not everyone will be loved by all”. Besides all his challenges in life, his strong Muslim faith made him had courage for religious tolerance.
Throughout his tenure, he demonstrated religious tolerance with Muslims and Christians living peacefully side-by-side and this was partly responsible for the Country’s peace consolidation.
Late Pa Kabbah was earlier married to the late Patricia Kabbah (née Tucker) who was a devout Catholic.
Imagine, in those days a devout Muslim man marrying to a Catholic Christian woman. Probably, it was because he attended the St. Edwards Secondary School that made him what he was, with regards to tolerance to religious differences.
There were times when the late man will accompany his late wife to church and she would do likewise and follow him to the mosque for prayers. This showed that he had respect for every religion and he certainly demonstrated this as a leader, encouraging his compatriots to follow suit.
To further show his love for religion, I can recall during the country’s reconstruction, resettlement and reintegration period when he asked the former Commissioner of NaCSA, Kanja Sesay whether the construction of mosques and churches were part of reconstruction projects. Commissioner Sesay smiled and gently said “No, Mr. President they are not included Sir.” The former President looked disappointed, “but other works have to carry on,” he calmly submitted.
As we mourn the death of the former first democratically elected President, it is right that we continue to foster religious tolerance, as we engender strong commitment to our identity as Sierra Leoneans, irrespective of our political differences. What we need is a united country. May Allah grant his gentle soul eternal mercy.
By Ade Campbell
Wednesday March 19, 2014

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