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10.01.2007 General News

Muslim Groups Appoint Probe Into Haj Crisis

By Stephen K. Effah
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A committee has been set up by the Muslim stakeholder organisations to enquire into the factors that led to the inability of over 400 prospective Muslim pilgrims to travel to Mecca last month for the Haj.
The 15-member committee, chaired by Alhaji Abdul-Razaq Khailann, a private marketing consultant, is expected to establish whether the failings in the 2006/2007 Haj operations were due to 'sabotage, human error, corruption, sheer incompetence, undue interference' or any other factors.
It has up to March 8 to submit its report and recommendations.
Inaugurating it in Accra yesterday, the president of the Coalition of Muslim Organisations Ghana, Major Mohammed Easah (rtd), said 'the 2006/2007 Haj crisis is not only a failure on the part of the organisers or the National Haj Council, it is in fact a serious embarrassment to and an indictment on the entire Muslim community'.
He said that although the National Haj Council recorded an appreciable improvement in the 2005/2006 Haj, the 2006/2007 Haj operation has been described as 'one of the worst ever in the country, evoking disappointment, anger and serious embarrassment in the Muslim community and Ghana in general.'
He, therefore, called for the adoption of a more pragmatic approach to address the fundamental factors and to determine the right direction and the right way forward in Haj organisation in the country.
Major Easah said that it is important for Muslims to conduct and manage their own affairs on the principles of transparency and accountability, saying 'we have to demonstrate that we have the collective resolve and capacity, as well as the human resource material, to resolve our own problems.
He emphasised that the committee members 'do not represent any interest or pressure groups of any particular geographical expression in the country but rather the Muslim community' and advised all Muslims to exercise restraint and circumspection in their utterances and comments on the Haj crisis to allow the committee the freedom to undertake its work.
The Chairman of the Committee, Alhaji Khailann described the assignment as 'a huge honour' and assured the Muslim community of a good work.
'We will perform with no acrimonies or personal agenda' he stated, and called for support from all to make their work successful.