It was organised by the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs (MCRA) in partnership with UNFPA to solicit inputs for the development of a proposed national policy on religion, which would serve as a framework of regulation to ensure religious tolerance.
It was held in Tamale for participants from the Northern, North East, Savannah and Upper East Regions.
Participants’ recommendations included the inclusive provision of public services to all citizens irrespective of religious affiliations.
Dr Richard Obeng Boafo, Head, Religious Affairs Unit, MCRA, speaking at the event, said engaging stakeholders was geared at promoting an all-encompassing and tolerant religious environment for social cohesion and peaceful coexistence.
He said it was intended to help address various religious misconceptions, enhance mutual respect and freedom, and promote patriotism for national development.
Dr Doris Mawuse Aglobitse, Programme Specialist and Head of Gender at the UNFPA, said the partnership deemed the contribution of the grassroots imperative to develop a policy that was reflective of reality.
She stated that the policy would be a product of collated information from the meeting and similar ones across the country, adding that a more consultative national policy on religion would play a key role in ending harmful practices.
She called for more engagements and dialogue on religious issues to promote justice, respect for human rights and help create an inclusive society.
Alhaji Shani Alhassan Saibu, Northern Regional Minister, whose speech was read on his behalf, expressed optimism of a comprehensive policy in the interest of all religious bodies in the country without discrimination.
He said, “Our history as a country over the years has supported religious diversity, and it is important to strategise on some guidelines to help chart a new path for posterity.”
Dr Zakaria Al-Hussein, Member, Northern Regional Peace Council, commended the MCRA and partners for the initiative, and called on religious groups and stakeholders involved in the process to endeavour to engage in factual issues and avoid pettiness.
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