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21.04.2005 Regional News

Proliferation of leadership groups can generate conflicts

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Kumasi, April 21, GNA - Vice President Aliu Mahama has expressed concern about the rising number of Islamic groups claiming leadership of Muslim communities, warning that it was a dangerous trend that needed to be halted.

He has, therefore, tasked the Ulema and Muslim chiefs to unite and address the problem before it got out of hands.

Vice President Mahama was addressing a durbar at Aboabo on Wednesday to celebrate the month of the birth of Prophet Mohammed. The occasion coincided with the 60th Anniversary of Wataniyya Islamic School, established by the late Sheikh Ahmed Baaba Al Wais. He advised Muslims to be guided by virtues of truthfulness, honesty, tolerance, humility and selflessness in their efforts to meet their daily needs as Prophet Mohammed exhibited.

"Unfortunately, we are failing in many ways to follow the true teachings of the Holy Prophet.... As a result most of the Muslim communities in Ghana are the most deprived and denied.... Poverty, ignorance and disease have become the lot of our people," he observed. "We have allowed religious and political intolerance to take the better part of our lives. We are ever ready to fight at the least provocation only to destroy the little property we have." Vice President Mahama reiterated his condemnation of recruiting young men from the Zongos (areas in urban centres inhabited mainly by Muslims) to engage in violent acts during political events and advised the people not to fall prey to such perpetrators, who always abandoned them afterwards.

"It is important that we show tolerance towards each other and learn to live in peace and in harmony," he stressed and added that they could not improve the quality of their lives without these. The Vice President explained that the educational reforms were aimed at improving the quality of education and making its beneficiaries more productive and urged them to take advantage of the opportunity to reform their educational institutions.

He told them to invest in the education of their children and also educational infrastructure to complement what the government had provided.

"It is heartening to note that the Late Sheikh Ahmed Baaba Al Wais established this Wataniyya Islamic School to give secular education to Muslim children in this community.

"It is now our turn to continue the good works of Uncle Sheikh Ahmed Baaba. We must help this school grow into a high performing institution to provide quality education and training for the residents in this area," he said.

Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Boniface Abubakari Saddique, Northern Regional Minister and Mr S.K. Boafo, Ashanti Regional Minister were among the dignitaries, who attended the function.

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