His Excellency Dr Ernest Bai Koroma has received at State House a delegation from the Cultural Centre of the Islamic Republic of Kuwait led by Mr. Bandar Al Sheik Ahmed Alnsafi.
President Koroma said government was pleased to welcome the delegation in Sierra Leone saying the visit was going to strengthen the strong ties that exist between the two countries. The President noted that Kuwait has been supporting the country's development efforts over the years through the Kuwait Fund and other bilateral assistance. He maintained that Kuwait had also provided opportunities to many Muslims in Sierra Leone and most of the country's great Imams studied in the Islamic Republic of Kuwait.
President Koroma also thanked the delegation for the fact that they were in the country to identify a piece of land for the construction of a Multi-Purpose Cultural Centre. He described the intervention as timely, saying such a center will serve the purpose of not only the Muslim Community, but will also provide them with a forum wherein a lot of education and sensitization will take place that would help in the overall development of the human mind in the country.
The father of the nation noted that many Sierra Leoneans are Muslims, and organizing seminars that would refresh the minds of Imams will go a long way in spreading the new knowledge among Sierra Leone's Muslims.
President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, who happens to be one of Sierra Leone's most religiously tolerant leaders, emphasized government's appreciation of the activities of the Kuwaiti Cultural Centre in the country and also pledged government's unflinching support in ensuring success in their efforts to bring spiritual and physical development to Sierra Leone.
The Fountain of Honour also used the occasion to appeal on behalf of the Sierra Leonean Muslim Community for an increase in the number of scholarships awarded to them to perform the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, while adding that this would also strengthen the activities of the Islamic Cultural Centre in the country.
President Koroma said that government was fully supportive of the Council of Imams and the group of Clergy that are with them, saying they are given complete support to work with them so that together with government they would advance the course of Sierra Leone.
Presenting the delegation, Cultural Attaché of the Sierra Leone Embassy in Kuwait, Alhaji Saidu Bangura, said the visit was an outcome of a meeting held at the Sierra Leone Embassy in Kuwait. He noted that they were in the country as an advance team to assess the construction of a Multi-Purpose Cultural Centre. He added that the delegation is an arm of the Ministry of Endowment and Islamic Affairs in Kuwait.
The Leader of the delegation, Mr. Bandar Al Sheik Ahmed Alnsafi expressed their deep appreciation of the warm welcome and hospitality accorded them by the government and people of Sierra Leone since their arrival in the country. He explained that they were on a fact finding mission and to establish a joint cooperation for the construction of an Islamic Cultural Centre in accordance with the standards and special regulations of the Islamic Cultural Centre in Kuwait.
Mr. Bandar Al Sheik Ahmed Alnsafi revealed that their main objective in the country was to ensure that the site for the construction of the center was identified and allocated. He also informed the President about the two day Seminar they had organized for Imams and other Muslim stakeholders in the country.
The ceremony was witnessed by the Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs and his Deputy.