Professor Kenneth Attafuah, Director of the William Ofori-Atta Institute of Integrity, has cautioned politicians not to polarize the country by inciting religious and ethnic passions.

He is particularly not happy with the situation where the choice of presidential candidates and running mates of political parties to contest elections are influenced by religious and ethnic considerations.

This, he said, was unhelpful to the unity and cohesion of the nation and must not be encouraged. Religion must be placed on rationality for the common good.

Prof Attafuah was speaking at a day?s seminar on ?Liberalism and Religion? held in Kumasi, and organized by the Friedrich Neumann Foundation for Liberty, a German Non-Governmental Organization (NGO).

The seminar brought together representatives of political parties, assembly members, journalists, chiefs, religious leaders and educationists.

It was held to draw attention to the danger associated with the gradual introduction of religion into electioneering campaigns ? a risky path to tread.

Topics discussed included ?Liberalism, the Secular Ghana and Religion?, ?Separating State and Religion?, and ?Religion, Rule of Law and Human Rights?.

Prof Attafuah underlined the need to respect the rights and freedom of religious minorities, saying they should not be denigrated.

He said he found it disheartening that atheists in the country for example, could not publicly hold themselves as such, adding that, everybody should be free to choose any religion he or she wishes to belong.

He noted that Ghana is a secular state and the expectation was that the state would deliver its obligation to all the nationals, regardless of religious affiliation or association.

Prof Attafuah appealed to journalists to work hard to prevent religious intolerance and ethnic differences.

Mr Isaac Osei, Member of Parliament (MP) for Subin, said religion, as a development tool, must have a transformational influence on political maturation of the nation.

Mrs Tina Asante-Apeatu, Programme Officer of the Foundation, said individual freedom was the basis for a peaceful, tolerant, prosperous and open global community.

Source: GNA

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