In a bid to recognize the important role played by Imams in nation building particularly the developmental contribution for peace in the country and their great sacrifices in propagating the religion of Islam, the Sierra Leone Islamic Development Fund has launched Operation Support Your Imam Project at the Jamieu Jalil Temne Central Mosque, Oldfield Street on Friday 28th August 2015.
Launching the Project, the National Adviser and Coordinator SLIDF, Alhaji Issa Catco Kamara emphasized that the role of Imams in propagating the noble teachings of Islam, providing spiritual guidance and fostering the culture of peace, tolerance and progress in our society cannot be overemphasized. He stressed that in order to help alleviate some of the burdens they encounter on a daily basis which may sometimes compromise their resolve to continue their good work, the idea of Operation Support Your Imam Project was conceived in order to contribute in a very humble and symbolic way towards easing those difficulties.
Alhaji Catco disclosed that the program initially is aimed at targeting 40 imams from both the Regions and Western Area by providing them with the Country’s staple food which is rice and basic monthly social and general welfare support for the time being. He said the program will endeavour towards the gradual expansion of the quality and varieties of aid to include other aspect of our imams’ social security.
Giving an overview of the organization the Secretary General, Sheikh Ibrahim Barrie disclosed that the program was initially conceived by a prominent indigenous Muslim entrepreneur and philanthropist who fortunately is the newly elected Chairman of the Temne Community Development Council, Alhaji Issa Catco Kamara and recently enhanced by the newly established Sierra Leone Islamic Development Fund.
Sheikh Ibrahim Barrie called on all local and International donors and philanthropist to contribute in whatever way possible in order to ensure the sustainability and success of the program. He said that their aim is to target more diverse beneficiaries in the country in order to show the true Islamic values of charity solidarity and compassion.
Sheikh Barrie admonished Imams to be patient since this is just the start of the scheme and in the interim it will be on rotational basis since they do have so many local hands on board. He said their main aim is to galvanized both local and international resources to ensure that some of the numerous constraint of the Imams are addressed.
In his welcome address Chief Imam of the Jamieu Jalil Mosque, Dr. Inbrahim Salieu Kamara commended the initiative of the Sierra Leone Islamic Development Fund for uniting the Muslim population regardless of grouping, race, and tribe and urged all throw away tribalism, nepotism and all vices that will disrupt the unity of the Muslim population in the country. He noted that the Holy Qur’an did not only set rules how a Muslim should to conduct themselves but brings across the idea that anyone who propagates the message of justice and acts accordingly will be justly rewarded with their place in Jannah.
Dr. Ibrahim Salieu Kamara inspired Muslims to contribute in the propagation of Islam with whatever qualities endowed on him by Allah whether financially, morally, physically, tactically, good initiative and knowledge. He emphasized that the propagation of Islam does not lies only on the Imams but also the worshippers who usually listen to the sermon must do all in their powers to propagator the religion.
In his remarks the Chairman of the program who doubles as Chairman of the Sierra Leone Islamic Development Fund, Alhaji Murtada Sesay reiterated that the program will complement but not compete with any other program or activity of this nature and it will advocate for more support for the Imams. He recalled various endeavours taken by the Temne Community Development Council to visit various tribal Mosques during the month of Ramadan trying to put Islam in its rightful position.
The program which attracted hundreds of Imams across the country was climaxed with the distribution of 40 bags of rice and monies to all 14 regional Imams and some Imams in the Western Area.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.