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General News of Monday, 20 November 2000

Source: GNA

Don't push country to war - Vice President

No politician has the moral right to push the nation to the brink of war and mayhem, Professor Atta Mills, Vice President, said on Sunday.

"I consider it most unfortunate for anybody to call for a Yugoslavia or an Ivory Coast here. I don't believe any political victory is worth the loss of lives and destruction of property".

Prof. Mills said this when he commissioned a 600 million-cedi a Mosque at Burma Camp in Accra. The Mosque, which was started in 1997 with contributions mostly from the Arab community in Ghana, is named "the Al Aziz" Central Mosque and has capacity for 2,000 people.

The Vice President said a call to political violence would be irresponsible and described it as "wanton exploitation of the trust and confidence of the people of the land".

"Such an option is also most unfortunate as it pits brother against brother and sister against sister". He said it would destroy the structures and advances Ghana has made in conflict resolution and community integration.

Prof. Mills noted that Ghana has gone through two successful elections and is about to have the first occasion for a civilian government to change over to another one. He said, " we should do all we can to avoid endangering this enviable record", adding, " we are the beacon of hope for most of Africa".

Prof. Mills stressed the need to preach peace and dialogue in churches and mosques. "I am trusting Allah to see emerge in Ghana a high sense of tolerance and mutual respect, first among Muslims and also between Muslims and peoples of other faith.

This is a vital for consolidating our national unity, peace, order and stability that we have all enjoyed for many years now, which have won for our nation the admiration and respect of the international community" he said.

Vice President Mills said the diversity of faith in the country should not be a source of conflict, but rather strength for Ghanaians.

Alhaji Sulemana Mumuni, a Muslim Scholar, said that apart from the spiritual importance of a Mosque, it provides a point for believers to converge, develop genuine spirit of communality, fellowship and social cohesion on the basis of a common faith. He also said it is a point for social mobilisation, a courthouse and serves a broader socio-religious purpose.-