The Zongo Movement for Change (ZOMOC) has learnt with grave shock, comments attributed to Mr Eric Opoku, Brong Ahafo Regional Minister and Member of Parliament for Asunafo South.
The Minister is reported by the media to have shockingly claimed during a meeting with NDC officials in Acherensua in the Asutifi South Constituency that all Muslims who support the New Patriotic Party (NPP) are not true Muslims because, according to him, the Quran advises true Muslims to stay away from the elephant, which is the emblem of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The Minister also roped in Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice Presidential Candidate of New Patriotic Party (NPP), questioning and ridiculing his Isamic faith due to his association with the NPP.
ZOMOC is scandalized by the blasphemous, divisive and insulting comments by no less a person than a minister of state and a member of parliament, who is also the Chairman of the Brong Ahafo Regional Security Council (REGSEC).
We are baffled how a minister of state of a democratic, circular state like ours will exhibit such crass ignorance and gross disrespect to Muslims by misinterpreting the Holy Quran to achieve political expediency. His deliberate act to rope in the Dr Mahamudu Bawumia
The particular chapter in the Holy Quran (Surah Al Fil) which the minister referred to, does not say what the minister sacrilegiously claimed. The Chapter does not ask Muslims to stay away from elephants as the minister claimed.
The minister ought to go and learn, and understand Surah Al Fil and its antecedents.
With regards to who is a true Muslim, only the Almighty Allah can judge, and it is He alone who knows who is a true Muslim. It is not within the remit of Mr Eric Opoku to determine who is a true Muslim.
Muslims cherish and hold the Holy Quran in highest esteem. Misinterpreting the Holy Quran is unquestionably a great sacrilege and we demand the resignation of Mr Eric Opoku, or his dismissal by President John Mahama for such gross disrespect .
We also demand an unconditional retraction by Mr Eric Opoku for his sacrilegious misinterpretation of the Holy Quran, and an apology for questioning and disrespecting the faith of Muslim sympathizers of the NPP.
Furthermore, we call on fellow Muslims in the National Democratic Congress to condemn this blasphemous misinterpretation of the Holy Quran by the Minister.
There are thousands of Muslim NPP sympathizers in the country, and in the Brong Ahafo Region, where the Minister sits as the REGSEC Chairman. By his position as REGSEC chairman, the Minister should be the number one advocate of peace and unity in the region, regardless of one's political and religious affiliations.
When a minister and a REGSEC Chairman, irresponsibly abandons these noble responsibilities and rather dabbles in religious extremism for political benefits, it is clearly a recipe for chaos, particularly in an election year.
ZOMOC, as advocates of peace and unity calls on NPP Muslim sympathizers who have been irked by the Minister's comments and are expressing their anger on social media in the midst of this extreme provocation to remain calm.
As Ghana gears up for the general elections in November, ZOMOC urges all political commentators to eschew unguarded, inflammatory comments which could ruin the peace we enjoy as a country.
We also respectfully urge the National Peace Council to take note of such unwarranted religious attacks in our politics and call perpetrators to order.
ZOMOC is a movement which is aimed at mobilizing support for political change to ensure genuine development in Ghana and zongos in particular. Its membership is drawn from various zongos across the country, particularly the youth.
1. Mohammed Hashir Issah (Operations Director)
2. Khalid Abdul-Qadir Mainasara (Member Publicity Committee)