By Hassan G. Koroma
The Inter-Religious Council comprising both Muslims and Christians yesterday declared Thursday 21st August as ‘national day of prayer and fasting’ against the deadly Ebola virus in the country.
The Council made this pronouncement at a consultative meeting with religious leaders on Ebola response held at the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone (CCSL) conference hall at Kingharman Road in Freetown.
The group said the prayer and fasting session will serve as a day of repentance for whatever sin the people of Sierra Leone might have committed against God, and asking Him to take away the deadly Ebola virus presently ravaging the country’s population.
In his statement, the General Secretary of CCSL, Rev. Osman Fornah, who doubled as chairman of the meeting, said as religious leaders they have a major role to play, one of which he said is to provide spiritual fight on such a disaster that is plaguing the entire nation.
He said one of their responsibilities is to mobilize people across the country, and to come together as religious leaders to pass on the Ebola message to all Sierra Leoneans in churches and mosques and help to save innocent lives.
Rev. Fornah said their programme includes training of religious leaders across the country, which knowledge they will use to pass on the massage to others in their various localities, as well as providing help to survivors of the Ebola virus and orphan children of Ebola victims.
He said there has been a call by President Ernest Bai Koroma for all to come on board and pray for the country, noting that “it seems as if the Ebola virus is not an ordinary occurrence”.
Also speaking at the meeting, Chief Imam of the Freetown Central Mosque, Sheikh Tejan Sillah, said many people are dying while others who are infected with the virus are also busy infecting other innocent people; an act he described as wickedness, especially for those who already know they are infected with the virus.
“It would be better for all infected persons to come out and report to health professionals, then it will be easier to fight the Ebola which is killing people across the country,” he said. “But it seems that they are afraid because of false information making the rounds that they would be killed by health workers. That is why we as religious leaders have decided to come together and help in the dissemination of credible information to the people, and also pray to God to have mercy on the people of Sierra Leone.”