September 4, 2015 By: Alhaji Mohamed Wusha-Conteh
To recognize the important role played by Imams in nation building, particularly their contribution to peace in the country and their great sacrifices in propagating the religion of Islam, the Sierra Leone Islamic Development Fund on Friday 28th August launched the ‘Operation Support Your Imam’ project at the Jamieu Jalil Temne Central Mosque, Oldfield Street in Freetown.
Launching the project, the National Adviser and Coordinator of SLIDF, Alhaji Issa Catco Kamara, noted that the role of Imams in propagating the noble teachings of Islam, providing spiritual guidance and fostering the culture of peace, tolerance and progress in the society cannot be overemphasized. He stressed that in order to help alleviate some of the challenges they face on a daily basis, which have the potential of them compromising their religious work, the ‘Operation Support Your Imam’ project was initiated to support the religious clerics.
Alhaji Catco Kamara disclosed that the program is initially targeting 40 Imams in both the regions and Western Area by providing them with rice and basic monthly social and general welfare support. He said the scheme will be gradually expanded to include other aspects of the Imams’ social security.
Giving an overview of the organization, the Secretary General Sheikh Ibrahim Barrie noted that the program was conceived by prominent indigenous Muslim entrepreneur and philanthropist, Alhaji Issa Catco Kamara, who is the newly elected chairman of the Thaimne Community Development Council. This culminated in the establishment of the Sierra Leone Islamic Development Fund.
Sheikh Barrie called on local and international donors and philanthropists to support the project so that it would be sustainable and be able to achieve its objective. He said their aim is to target more beneficiaries across the country as a portrayal of the true Islamic values of charity, solidarity and compassion.
Sheikh Barrie admonished Imams to be patient since this is just the start of the scheme, noting that at the moment, the support will be rotational. He said their main aim is to galvanize both local and international resources to ensure that some of the constraints of the Imams are alleviated.
In his welcome address earlier, Chief Imam of the Jamieu Jalil Mosque, Dr. Ibrahim Salieu Kamara, commended the initiative of the Sierra Leone Islamic Development Fund of uniting the Muslim family regardless of groupings, race and tribe, and urged all to eschew tribalism, nepotism and all vices that have the propensity to bring disunity in the Muslim family in the country.
He noted that the holy Qur’an does not only set rules on how Muslims should conduct themselves, but also promotes the idea that anyone who propagates the message of justice and acts accordingly will be justly rewarded with their place in jannah.
Dr. Kamara inspired Muslims to contribute in the propagation of Islam with whatever qualities endowed in them by Allah, whether financially, morally, and physically by using their knowledge. He emphasized that the propagation of Islam does not rest only with the Imams but also with the worshippers, whom he encouraged to do whatever is within their powers to propagate the religion.
The ceremony, which attracted hundreds of Imams across the country, was climaxed with the distribution of 40 bags of rice and money to all 14 regional Imams and some within the Western Area.