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31.12.2006 General News

COMOG To Investigate Pilgrims’ Plight

By Daily Graphic
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The Coalition of Muslim Organisations, Ghana (COMOG) has decided to investigate the circumstances which led to more than 1,000 prospective pilgrims being stranded in Accra.

It said the investigative committee would consist of representatives of all the stakeholder organisations and it would be chaired by a renowned private consultant who is a Muslim.

A statement issued by COMOG said the Muslim Caucus in Parliament and the National Security Council would also be represented on the committee.

It said the names of members of the committee, as well as the deadline for the submission of its report, would be disclosed soon.

It gave the assurance that the report of the committee would be implemented in the best interest of Islam and Muslims.

The statement expressed regret about the frustration, uncertainty, discomfort and agony which the potential pilgrims went through at the Kotoka International Airport following the default of a contracted airline to provide an aircraft to airlift them to Jeddah.

“The stakeholder organisations appreciate the efforts made by all concerned parties to secure an exception dispensation from the Saudi authorities to enable intending pilgrims to be airlifted to the Kingdom to perform the Hajj,” it said.

The statement recalled that the Chief of Staff and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Mr Kwadwo Mpiani, inaugurating the National Hajj Council (NHC) in September last year, made it clear that the government would not interfere in its activities except when assistance was needed.

It said although the NHC had accepted full responsibility for the crisis, “we find it absolutely necessary to identify certain specific influential factors and parties which might have contributed to the embarrassing and bizarre situation we now have on our hands”.

It appealed to the Muslim community to exercise restraint to allow events to unfold. The NHC on Tuesday aborted plans to airlift about 400 pilgrims to Mecca after efforts to seek an extension of the date for the closure of the Jeddah Airport failed.

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