“We cannot be a country that values democracy by denying the freedom of worship. Democracy and religion must always reconcile,” he said.
President of Republic of Malawi Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika has said his current administration will make sure that the freedom of worship is respected in the country.
Mutharika made the remarks on Saturday during the official opening of this year’s men’s Ijitma at Luchenza in Thyolo district.
The Malawi leader said his government will continue promoting the freedom of worship to the people in the country considering the fact that religious leaders are also taking an active part in developmental issues of this country.
“The First Lady [Madam Getrude Mutharika] and I, are very glad that you invited us to attend this year’s Ijitma. It’s something great that we are here to discuss some of the ways of promoting our religion which is Islam and the national developmental issues. Let me promise you that my government will make sure that Muslims are having their freedom of worship as any person in the country,” Mutharika said.
He expressed some of the bad things that might come if the freedom of worship is denied in any country saying people lose their lives.
“I know some of the dangers which may erupt when there is no freedom of worship in any country. The country lacks peace and it cannot develop. So, I feel good to see people in Malawi worshiping in different ways according to their doctrines. Whether you are a Muslim, a Hindu or a Christian, we all worship only one God. We are all the children of one God and we should continue to live in peace and harmony regardless of our religion so that we can also develop our country on the other way.”
Democracy and Freedom of Worship
“My government really appreciates to the roles which Malawi Muslim Association [MAM] plays in the development of this country. We are really thankful for their efforts in education, health and social welfare among others. Therefore, government will do at all times safeguard your freedom of worship and seek amicable solutions to any challenges that may come in your way because this is what we call democracy. We cannot be a country that values democracy by denying the freedom of worship. Democracy and religion must always reconcile,” he said.
Mutharika also asked Muslim leaders to promote the messages of peace and unity so that the people in the country should live in harmony.
“Mr. Chairman, I want to see a Malawi where there is no intolerance, there must be a country where no critical violence are happening in associated with religion. Instead, let’s find a meaning of life by serving those who are less privileged than us and I want to ask Muslims in the country to observe three pillars of development which is patriotism, integrity and hardworking spirit,” he said.
Education, a key to development
Mutharika also asked MAM to encourage children to attend and complete education.
“I am asking the MAM National Chairman Sheikh Idrissa Muhammad and the whole executive committee to encourage our children to attend and complete their education. This will really help Malawi to develop at a faster pace,”
Mutharika also supported the event with the money of amounting to five hundred thousand Kwacha ($1000) to use in buying some other necessities like food and water for the event.
In his remarks MAM Secretary General Twaibu Lawe commended the President and the First Lady for gracing the event and assured the government that MAM will continue supporting the government in developing the country.
“Your Excellency, we are much honored for your acceptance to be with us at this particular event to be the guest of honor; this shows that there is a cordial relationship between the government and religious bodies in the country. We therefore want to assure you that as MAM, we are going to work together in developing this country,” said Lawe.