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15.04.2015 Headlines

Freedom Of Worship In Schools: Muslim Group Blasts GES

By The Finder Newspaper, Ghana
Freedom Of Worship In Schools: Muslim Group Blasts GES
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Coalition of Muslim Organisation, Ghana (COMOG) has accused the Ghana Education Service (GES) of insensitivity and inconsistency in the process of trying to address issues of freedom of worship and the rights of Muslims in educational institutions.

To buttress its point, COMOG explained that a case in point is the rush with which the GES proceeded in 2008 to have a bill passed in Parliament to repeal the 1961 Education Act, which prohibited compelling students to worship in a way and manner different from their own religion.

'It is regrettable that this occurred only a few months after a Muslim student in Adisadel Collage had died in March 2008 as a result of resisting compulsion to attend church service,' COMOG said in a communiqu'.

The communiqu' was issued at the end of the fourth National Delegates' Congress of the COMOG held at the GNAT Hall in Tamale, Northern Region, from April 3 - 5, 2015, under the theme 'Unity in diversity: a means to socio-economic empowerment of the Ummah.'

The communiqu' was signed by Dr Adam Mahama, Steering Committee Chairman of the Congress.

It said Congress also observed that the generality of the Muslim community is aware that a lasting peace and unity must be built and nurtured on the foundation of justice.

'It is against this background that the Muslim community would like the issues of religious tolerance and religious freedom in educational institutions and place of work to be addressed, in the context of the relevant constitution provision (i.e. Article 21 (1) (c)).

'In regard, Congress noted the position of the Muslim community that it is only fair, just, and reasonable for their rights under the said constitutional provisions to be respected and regarded as inalienable and non-negotiable,' it said.

The Economy
On the economy, Congress discussed the economic challenges facing the country and recommended the adoption and launch of an 'OPERATION FEED GHANA' programme similar to the erstwhile 'Operation Feed Yourself' programme under the late General Kutu Acheampong regime in the 1970s.

Education and Hajj
Congress is of the view that the current cases of religious intolerance and discrimination against Muslims in schools and places of work present an opportunity for the Muslim Ummah to establish SHS to be attended by Muslim and non-Muslim students.

To that end, COMOG shall launch a 'ONE SCHOOL PER YEAR' deliberated programme under which one senior high school shall be built every year for the next 10 years.

In order to implement the programme, 'ONE SCHOOL PER YEAR,' therefore, Congress appealed to the authorities to, as a matter of urgency, consider returning Hajj to the Muslim community.

Corruption
Congress noted that frequent reports of alleged corruption do not serve the economic interest of the country.

CONGRESS noted that beneath the economic challenges in the country lies the menace of corruption, which culprits appear to perpetrate with impunity. It is the view of Congress that all cases of alleged corruption should be thoroughly investigated and alleged culprits prosecuted.

Speaking to the newly elected General Secretary, Hajj Abdel-Manan Abdel Rahman, a Strategic Marketing Consultant, he said the Congress has elected a new team made up of professionals and hope that the objectives of the Muslim community will be achieved.

He said the Congress was attended by all the seats in Ghana and major organisations, including youth bodies and regional executives.

According to him, the Congress has adopted draft standing order and strategic plan for the organisations.

To ensure that the new team achieves the target set for the new executives, the rebranding of the organisation will involve registering all the 150 organisations nationwide.

The fourth National Delegates' Congress, which was under the theme 'Unity in diversity: a means to socio-economic empowerment of Ummah,' amended the constitution. The National Executive Council (NEC) was expanded, Functional Executive Committee (FEC) was introduced, and the three-year term was increased to four.

According to the spokespersons of the organisation, Hajj Abdel-Manan, this was done to ensure growth of the organisation. The Congress elected Dr Al-Husein Zakari, a Development Consultant and lecturer at UDS, as the National President.

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