Riyadh, Feb. 29 - Director General of Cultural, Social and Family Affairs at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has said that Sierra Leone could be the best model with regards to religious tolerance, peaceful coexistence and bonds of unity.
Mehla Ahmed Talebna, who is also a former Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports in Mauritania, made the remarks to Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Representative to the OIC, Alhaji M.S. Kargbo during a familiarization visit to the Headquarters of the 57-States in Jeddah by the latter and his new Minister, Counsellor/Head of Chancery, Sulay –Manah Kpukumu last Thursday, 25th February 2016.
Sierra Leone, the Mauritanian-born OIC Director said, has always been placed top for its religious tolerance in the world. With stability and unity in any country, the Saudi-based Diplomat who also served as Adviser/ Director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in her country from November 1989 to August 2005, noted that there will be no room for criminal violence, extremism, terrorism and militancy.
“I admire Sierra Leone, a small West African nation that allows everyone to follow its chosen spiritual and religious hindrance, harassment or oppression,” the OIC Diplomat said.
Responding, the Ambassador thanked Mrs. Talebna for her kind remarks about Sierra Leone and reiterated that Sierra Leone is strongly committed to promoting religious tolerance not only in the country, but to other countries across the African continent.
The Envoy quoted His Excellency’s President Ernest Bai Koroma’s statement at a Supreme Islamic Council conference hosted in the northern headquarters of Makeni a few years ago that “Sierra Leone will soon start sending our religious leaders to other countries plagued with religious intolerance to provide counsel for religious tolerance to prevail.”
Both officials also emphasized the need for Muslims to work on their common heritage and put aside any sectarian differences which they say can lead to division and conflict. “We should concentrate on education and skills,” they suggested.
Both officials prayed to the Almighty God for world peace, security and stability and also for the Almighty to guide leaders to work for the betterment of their societies and fulfill their trust.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.