PRESIDENT Lungu has urged the Muslim community to use the power of faith to help promote peace and inter-religious dialogue.
According to a statement released to the media by his press Aide Amos Chanda, the Head of State said this on the occasion of the Eid Al Fitr [the festival of breaking the fast] at the end of the Muslim’s month-long period of Ramadan.
In a message of goodwill to the Muslim community in Zambia at the end of their month-long period of Ramadan, President Lungu says Eid, one of the most important events on the Muslim calendar, should be a moment of reflection and an opportunity for different faiths to interact and dialogue on matters that cut across the barriers of faith and culture.
The Head of State says Eid provides an opportunity for Muslims to invite people from other faiths to join them in the spiritual festival of breaking fast and must therefore be used to spread messages of peace and unity in communities.
“I take this opportunity of the festival of Eid to appeal to the leaders and followers of Islam to join me in promoting nation-building through messages of peace and unity particularly this period when the nation is conducting election campaigns,” President Lungu said. “Let us help our people to understand that elections are a democratic platform through which leaders are chosen. This is not a fierce competition to win at all cost.”
“It is a competition about ideas. It is a competition to serve. Public service should always be about a commitment to God, family and country.
Religious leaders therefore have a duty to guide our people to remain united behind the cherished values of peaceful co-existence that have held this great country together in the last half century of our independence.”
The spiritual significance of the festival of Eid when Muslims thank the Almighty Allah for the strength, will and the endurance during the Ramadan period of fasting should motivate the faithful to apply themselves to the practical challenges that confront our people.
“The Eid prayers therefore must take cognizance of the fact that Islam, as one of the major religions in our midst, must contribute to the promotion of peace, hope and serve as bridge across different faiths and cultures,” the President said.
Tomorrow, July 6, the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims are marking the beginning of Eid. The celebrations involve a range of traditions, generally including a gathering of family and friends to eat and pray together.