The time tested religious tolerance between Christians and Muslims in Sierra Leone has once again been taken to another level, this time round to jointly fight the Ebola menace ravaging the lives of their people. The battle strategy is manifested in a task force that the leaders representing the two religious groups unveiled on Saturday July 11, 2014 at the Council of Churches of Sierra Leone (CCSL) at Kingharman Road in Freetown.
Unveiling the task force the leaders observed that the outbreak of the Ebola virus in the nation and its devastating consequences is now well known. “Never in our history as a nation have we been confronted with such a devastating disease. The challenges it poses to life and the economy are enormous. Ebola is no respecter of persons or religions, nor does it give warning signs. When it comes it does not discriminate,” they lamented.
At the time of launching the task force on that day, they said they learned that Ebola was not only in Kailahun district but has also spread to places like Kenema, Bo, Pujehun, Koinadugu and Kambia districts.
Notwithstanding, the religious leaders said they are not hopeless in the face of the challenges presented by the deadly disease virus as there are constructive actions each one of them can take.
They have joined the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to affirm that Ebola is real and that it is in Sierra Leone and it is killing the people.
The religious leaders are therefore calling on persons who are circulating the wrong information about the disease to desist from such action as it only helps to spread the disease thereby increasing the death toll.
They also assure the people of Sierra Leone of God’s divine presence as the nation goes through this moment of confusion, pain and grief as families have lose members and love ones to the disease.
They are also asking all religious leader and their congregations to commit themselves to a time of prayer and fasting for God to avert the pestilence and save the nation from further deterioration.
The religious leaders have at the same time called on religious groups to declare 3 days of prayer and fasting in this month (July), to preach sermons of hope and God’s presence in the lives of the people, and for religious leaders to teach their congregations basic prevention strategies.
Meanwhile the religious leaders are to organize two training seminars in Bo and Freetown with focus on pastors, imams and all religious people on awareness of the Ebola menace. The effort among others will be geared towards changing the negative mindset of people about the Ebola disease.
“Rumours about Ebola should be cross checked with the right authorities, and the traditional hand-shaking should be stopped for the time being,” the religious leaders advised. Report by George S. Khoryama.