PRESIDENT John Magufuli yesterday repeated his call on all religions’ devotees to embrace unity and obey the teachings of the Holy Books.
“Through adherence to the teachings of the Holy Books, you will not only live life that pleases God but will also help in building the nation,” President Magufuli stated at the 20th Quran Citation competition in Dar es Salaam.
The Al-Hikma Foundation organised competition has this year attracted participants from 18 African countries. And, this is the first time President Magufuli has attended the contest, fulfilling his last year’s pledge to attend.
The president’s attendance was described as a gesture that Tanzanians remain united regardless of their different religious inclinations.
Addressing the congregation at the National Stadium, Dr Magufuli pleaded with all worshipers—Muslims and Christians—to continually protect the country’s unity, assuring that the government is determined to work closely with all religions.
He as well appreciated the critical role the religious institutions are playing as development partners in the country, saying the government will continue working with them.
President Magufuli however warned traders bent on minting quick money by inflating prices of consumables during the Holy Month of Ramadan. “You can’t get rich by inflating prices,” the president derided the trend, directing the responsible authorities to closely follow up on the prevailing prices in the market and control indiscriminate hiking.
Responding to Al-Hikma Foundation request for land to build a health centre in Temeke District, President Magufuli offered the land and directed the minister responsible for land to prepare the needed permits to allow construction of the health facility on the land that was earlier earmarked for recreation.
“It’s better to give that land to the foundation, which wants to build the health facility to serve people’s lives than just keep it as an open space,” Dr Magufuli stated.
Attending the event were many dignitaries, including Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, former Presidents Ali Hassan Mwinyi and Jakaya Kikwete; former Vice-President Mohamed Gharib Bilal and other leaders.
Premier Majaliwa said when he attended last year’s competition as guest of honour, President Magufuli called him, expressing how he was moved by the contest and voiced his wish to grace this year’s event.
“Your decision to attend clearly indicates that you love all your people regardless of their religious differences,” Mr Majaliwa told the president, adding that the gesture speaks volume of Tanzania’s peace and unity.
Former Presidents Mwinyi and Kikwete concurred with the premier’s statement, saying unity and love should always supersede religious differences. Former President Mwinyi commended Dr Magufuli for what he described as “the country’s speedy development.”
“Everybody is amazed by the huge and expensive projects like construction of Standard Gauge Railway within a short period of his leadership… let’s pray for him so that God help him to continue with this speed,” Mzee Mwinyi said.
Tanzania’s Mufti—Chief Sheikh—Abubakary Zubery bin Ali said the Quran Citation duel aims at bringing up children in decent behaviour and in knowledge of their religion.
Mufti Zubeiry received 10m/- from President Magufuli as a gift for his commendable spiritual leadership in the country. Saudi Arabia’s Minister Saleh bin Abdul Aziz Al- Asheikh also commended President Magufuli’s attendance at the event, saying it signifies the country’s peace.
He also hailed the cooperation that exists between Tanzania and Saudi Arabia, promising that his country will continue supporting Tanzania, economically.