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29.12.2006 Religion

Stakeholders To Probe Haj Fiasco

By Times Reporter
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Representatives of organisations constituting the National Hajj Council have set up a Committee of Inquiry to investigate the circumstances leading to the inability of hundreds of intending pilgrims going on the Haj.
A press statement issued by the Coalition of Muslim Organisation (COMOG) and jointly signed by Major Mohammed Easah, President of COMOG, Umar Ibrahim Iman of Ablussunna Wal-Jama’a and Famimatu N. Sulemann, Vice President of Federation of Muslim Women’s Association of Ghana, appealed to the Muslim Ummah and the public to 'exercise restraint to allow events to unfold.
'The stakeholder organisation would like to assure the Muslim Ummah and the general public that the report of the committee will not be shelved,'
'But will rather be seriously considered by the stakeholder organisations and implemented in the best interest of Islam and Muslim.'
The statement suggested that the committee consists of representatives of all stakeholder organisations, such as the Muslim caucus in Parliament and National Security Council.
The stakeholder organisation expressed regret and concerns about the unfortunate situation and said it is closely monitoring the situation with prayers.
The statement acknowledged the Hajj Council’s acceptance of full responsibility for the shortfalls in the organisation of this year’s Hajj activities for the Ghanaian pilgrims.
'We find it absolutely necessary to identify certain specific influential factors and parties that might have contributed to the embarrassing and bizarre situation we now have on our hands,' it said.
The statement said the organization appreciated the efforts by all concerned parties to secure an exceptional dispensation from the Saudi authorities to enable the remaining pilgrims to be airlifted to the Kingdom to perform the Hajj.
It recalled that the Chief of Staff and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Kwadwo Mpani while inaugurating the National Hajj Council in September 2005, made it clear that the council would be independent and assured that the government would not interfere in its activities except where assistance was needed.
Observers note that Hajj organisation in Ghana, has been fraught with difficulties over the years culminating in the formation of a National Hajj Board in 2004.
Last year’s which was organised by the new board was seen as very successful and the expectation was that subsequent ones would be improved in terms of organisation.
But contrary to expectation, this year’s Hajj turned out to be the worst ever, with hundreds of would-be pilgrims going back home disappointed after many days of waiting wanting at the airport for a flight.
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