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08.07.2005 General News

Concession in Hajj Pilgrimage cannot be politicised


Bolgatanga, July 8, GNA - The Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Boniface Gambila, on Friday stated that the Government does not want to politicise the Hajj Pilgrimage because it was a sacred religious undertaking.

He advised Muslim members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to strive to keep the Pilgrimage open to all eligible persons since it was a "Once in a life-time obligation," which could be performed anytime in one's life.

"I believe that even a genuine desire to go on the Pilgrimage coupled with the appropriate life style, is enough to merit the necessary Grace from God", he said.

The Minister was speaking to a Muslim delegation from the Bolgatanga branch of the Coalition of Muslim Organisation that presented the Hajj report and some grievances to him in Bolgatanga. Mr. Gambila noted that the annual Hajj Pilgrimage could be organised without problems if a permanent administrative office was established for the purpose instead of a seasonal one.

Mr Gambila, reacting to a complaint of a food short fall at Bolgatanga Zongo said food relief from the head office of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) had started arriving to be sold at "give-away prices".

He assured Muslim Women that they would be included in all women's activities and advised them to register to benefit from a credit facility from the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MOWAC). The delegation led by Alhaji Gariba Awudu, had said earlier that they were often neglected in the areas of health, education and important functions in the regional capital.

"We feel very hurt that we are left out most of the time even though we form a large part of the population of Bolga", Alhaji Awudu said, adding that, "given the political support we can contact our Muslim Brothers in some Islamic countries for help during the present difficult period of hunger".