The Muslim Caucus in Parliament of Ghana and Muslim Stakeholders have urged the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service to strictly enforce the directive to allow “ any [Muslim] student who wishes to fast for any religious reasons to be able to do so.
A statement signed by the Member of Parliament (MP) of the Asawase Constituency, Mohammed Mubarak Muntak sighted by Ghtimesonline.com indicated that the endorsement of the position of the Methodist Church Ghana by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference and Christian Council of Ghana came as a shock to Muslim leaders and it also calls into question the years of partnership and mutual cooperation that have existed between Muslim Stakeholders under the able leadership of the National Chief Imam and these Christian bodies.
According to the statement “if fasting, one of the key pillars of Islam, could be treated by the Methodist Church Ghana, the Christian Council of Ghana and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in such a cavalier and flippant manner on the basis of unscientific, spurious and trumped-up reasons then our constitutional values of freedom of religion, religious diversity and tolerance are at the stake and in great peril.
“We are further taken aback by the stance of Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the Christian Council of Ghana in encouraging WESLEY GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL and the Methodist Church Ghana to disregard a lawful directive of the Ghana Education Service for the “authorities of Wesley Girls High School… to allow any such student who wishes to fast for any religious reasons to be able to do so…” We consider this attack on the authority of the Ghana Education Service to be highly troubling as it undermines State authority and further sets a bad precedent”.
“Moreover, we find it unacceptable for any religious group to hide behind the veil of the majority of religious traditions to unleash tyranny and intolerance on the faith and cardinal doctrine of other faiths. If the disingenuous and dangerous argument of majority and religious tradition is allowed to hold sway, our country will be riven apart in our regions, districts, schools, neighborhoods, markets, businesses, state institutions, among others. It must be stated that such dangerous arguments belong to a bygone era and have no place in a modern democracy like ours”.
We wish to be absolutely clear. The just struggle for religious freedom and expression for all Ghanaians irrespective of faith in public-funded institutions is no respecter for the majority and constitutionally harmful religious traditions. We further state that we would never relent in our efforts to defend our constitutional values of freedom of religion, religious diversity, and tolerance.
Today Muslim leadership met the Minister of Education to deliberate over the matter. We are pleased by the assurances of the Minister that this matter will be amicably resolved. We, therefore, entreat the Muslim Ummah and the good people of Ghana to continue to exercise self-restraint in face of this coordinated attack on Ghana’s constitutional values and the authority of State institutions.