President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called on Ghanaians to keep to the religious tolerance that has served the nation well and made Ghana the envy of most countries around the world.
His comment followed the raging controversial debate between Muslims and Christians over a decision by the management of Wesley Girls’ High School not to allow Muslim students to observe the just-ended Ramadan fast.
The decision gained the support of the Methodist Church Ghana and the Christian Council as well as some Christians in the country.
However, the Muslim Caucus in Parliament and other Muslim groups expressed their resentment about the situation, saying it does not help in maintaining the cordial relationship between Muslims and Christians.
Speaking at a virtual national Eid-Ul-Fitr celebration at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) premises in Accra yesterday, President Akufo-Addo said stakeholders from the Education Ministry, Muslim and Christian leaders are meeting over the issue to find a satisfactory solution.
Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and his wife Samira as well as ministers of state and other government officials took part in prayers for the country at the state broadcaster.
President Akufo-Addo urged all religious leaders to work together to ensure the peace and unity of the country.
“I am happy to state that in the specific case of the incident at one of our greatest schools, Wesley Girls’ High School, which has given rise to the recent discourse on religion, the authorities that is the Ministry of Education, leaders of the Christian and Muslim communities and the leadership of the school, are engaged in solemn discussions about the way forward, and I am very hopeful that a satisfactory solution will be found for one and all.
“We should be proud that our national Constitution simply reinforces these characteristics, and it should, therefore, be easy for us to uphold these basic and fundamental tenets that hold us together. “The boarding schools in our country have traditionally served as the training grounds in learning about each other, about tolerance and losing the fear of the unknown. That is where young Ghanaians learn to eat each other’s food, that is where they learn songs and dances of the different parts of the country and also where they learn about each other’s religion and a place for lifelong friendships are forged.
“Throughout the years, the schools have by and large managed to find a reasonable, balanced atmosphere to enable our young people to flourish and this has served us well. The schools have evolved and adapted their practices to suit the times and I would urge that we do not turn them into the place to fight ideological battles.”
President Akufo-Addo reiterated that, “Our young people deserve a peaceful atmosphere to be able to deal with the many challenges of studying and acquiring knowledge”, and that, “Parents, certainly, must have a keen interest in the schools into whose care they entrust their children.
Chief Imam’s exemplary leadership
President Akufo-Addo thanked the national Chief Imam, Sheikh Osumanu Nuhu Sharubutu for the exemplary leadership shown in the midst of the controversy.
“I thank the Muslim community in Ghana for the continued support for my programme of transformation. Insha Allah, I shall continue to work with and for you for the peace, progress and prosperity of our country. Jama’a (the gathering), I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, for his exemplary leadership not only of the Muslim flock but also of our country generally.
“The National Chief Imam is the very epitome of tolerance and peaceful co-existence. He continues to make our country the envy of the world for its religious tolerance. His inter and intra-religious co-operation is amazing and sets Muslim communities in our country for which we owe him a great debt of gratitude,” President Akufo-Addo added.