Accra, Oct. 12, GNA - The Government has so far spent about eight billion cedis to support the provision of infrastructure and facilities in Islamic schools in the country.
President John Agyekum Kufuor announced this at a meeting with Muslim Chiefs at the Castle, Osu on Tuesday.
He appealed to the Chiefs and Opinion Leaders in the Zongo Communities to endeavour to educate the Muslim youth in English in addition to their instructions in Arabic and the Islamic religion. President Kufuor said with such a balance in the education of the youth they would be well integrated into the Ghanaian society to contribute their quota to national development and not feel marginalised in society.
"It is our desire to promote such balanced education among the Muslim youth", he said.
President Kufuor appealed to Muslim parents not to contend themselves only with the provision of Islamic education for their children, especially the girls but provide more vocational or technical education for them as well in order not to relegate them to the background in society.
He said: "A well-developed child is what we need to develop the country. It is the duty of the leadership in the communities to assist in educating the girl-child.
"Government will endeavour to bridge the gap between the privileged and under-privileged girl-child in society", he said.
President Kufuor said he chose Alhaji Aliu Mahama as his running mate for the elections in 2000 and 2004 not because Alhaji Mahama was a Muslim or hailed from the Northern part of Ghana.
He said Alhaji Mahama was chosen because of his competence and to create a harmonious society; develop in unity and ensure peaceful co-existence among Ghanaians within the numerous religious and ethnic groups.
"I want a partner to translate my wishes for a harmonious country into reality."
President Kufuor agreed to a suggestion by the Muslim Chiefs for a permanent body to manage pilgrimage to Mecca and said such a body should show concern and respect for the rights of the pilgrims.
On the elections, he appealed to the youth not to allow themselves to be manipulated but ensure a peaceful, free and fair elections. Alhaji Moro Baba Issah, Public Relations Officer of the National Executive Council of Muslim Chiefs, in an address he read on behalf of the Chiefs commended the Government for the peace and stability prevailing in the country.
He said the allocation of 300,000 dollars for the establishment of a school at Nima and Maamobi and the 500 million cedis for the Islamic Girls' School at Suhum in the Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar District bore testimony to President Kufuor's concern and support for Muslims in Ghana.
Alhaji Issah commended the Government for financial assistance under the micro-financing scheme to some Muslim women at Sukura and Ashaiman and appealed for more assistance to other Zongo communities in the country.