|06FREETOWN810||2006-09-29 14:48:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Freetown|
VZCZCXRO4966 RR RUEHMA RUEHPA DE RUEHFN #0810 2721448 ZNR UUUUU ZZH R 291448Z SEP 06 FM AMEMBASSY FREETOWN TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0353 INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS FREETOWN 000810
1. On September 27, the Ambassador invited members of Sierra
Leone's Muslim community to the residence to participate in a
Maghreb Prayer and Ifter to break the Ramadan fast. The
event was well attended by about 75 prominent Muslim Sheiks,
clerics and Imams, as well as Minister of Labor Alpha Timbo
and Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Kamara.
2. The Ambassador praised Sierra Leone in his remarks for the
country's well deserved reputation for religious tolerance
and diversity, which serves as an example to other nations.
Sheik Abubakar Conteh, Chief Imam of the Hamdallah Mosque in
Freetown, and Vice President of the Sierra Leone's Muslim
Missionaries Union thanked the Ambassador and the Embassy
staff for their hospitality and spoke eloquently on the
values of Islam as a peaceful religion, quoting from the
Koran to highlight that violence is never acceptable and that
Islam is not a religion of terrorism. Islam, he said, abhors
social injustice and teaches that all are equal. Acting
Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamara also addressed the guests
and emphasized that Islam is a religion of tolerance,
preaches respect for other religions, and has no room for
3. A local newspaper reported on the success of the event and
thanked the Ambassador and his wife, along with Embassy staff
for their "profound spirit of hospitality which wittingly
dispelled the view that the Americans are hostile people,"
adding, "the occasion was aimed at repairing the dented
relationship currently existing between the Americans and
Muslims around the world."