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26.10.2005 General News

FRONT concerned about hike in Hajj fares

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Kumasi, Oct. 26, GNA - The United Forum For Islamic Affairs (The FRONT), an umbrella group of all Muslim organizations in the Ashanti Region, has expressed grave concern and disagreement with the decision of the newly appointed Hajj Board to increase the Hajj fares for 2006. They, therefore, called for an immediate review of the fare to calm down nerves.

The FRONT said a recent release from the Hajj Board increased the fare from 1,690 dollars for 2005 to 2,200 dollars for pilgrims, who would be going for the Hajj in 2006.

The sentiments and disagreement of the FRONT were contained in a release issued in Kumasi on Wednesday, and signed by Alhaji Salih Bamba, its President.

The release said members of the FRONT vehemently oppose the new Hajj fare advocated by the Board because the Board did not even disclose the breakdown of the figure involved, and that efforts by the FRONT to obtain components of the fare from the Board had proved futile. The FRONT therefore strongly appealed to the Presidency, the Legislature and all Muslim leaders, Imams and Chiefs, to swiftly intervene in the matter to ease tension.

"We also advise that the Hajj Board should reduce the number of people sent as welfare officials and rather make use of Ghanaian students in Saudi Arabia, who are better positioned to offer relieve services than officials sent from here", the release added.

The FRONT said it was also imperative for the Hajj Board to quickly consider regional representation to facilitate decentralization and dissemination of information.