The Coalition of Muslim Organizations, Ghana (COMOG) has asked the leadership of the Methodist Church of Ghana to respect the Constitution and promote religious tolerance.
The President of the Coalition, Hajj Abdel-Manan Abdel-Rahman, in a statement says this call has come about after their attention was drawn to the leadership of the Methodist Church, Ghana, indicating they cannot accede to the unilateral directive by the Ghana Education Service (GES).
“This stance by the leadership of the Methodist Church smacks of tacit endorsement of the intolerant behavior of the Headmistress and the Board Chairman, which in our opinion cannot be the policy of the Church, which has tolerated other faiths in the schools originally for the Church.”COMOG
The Coalition further said it takes exception to the position taken by the church to defy the directives of the GES to allow the Muslim students pray and fast.
According to COMOG, it least expected the response from the Methodist Church to the Ghana Education Service directive. It also said all indications from the said letter shows that not only did the Headmistress act unilaterally but with institutional endorsement.
“At a time that the Muslim Ummah, who are the victims of such unpleasant religious intolerance have remained calm;for a peaceful resolution of the matter,;we least expected such a provocative response from the leadership of the Methodist Church.
“Unlike other countries in the sub-region and the world over, our country,;Ghana has over the years enjoyed some relative peace due to the level of tolerance exhibited by all the religious groups in the country.”COMOG
Putting culture over regulations, out of place
COMOG indicated that they take cognizance of the peculiar culture of every institution without exception. That notwithstanding, COMOG says it is out of place for any institution, for that matter the Methodist Church,;Ghana and its actors to attempt to put its culture and regulations over and above the constitution of Ghana.
“We, therefore, wish to urge the Leadership of the Church to adhere to the GES directives;and allow Muslim students to observe their religious obligations so that,;they would also contribute to upholding the fundamental human rights of all citizens,;as guaranteed by Article 21(1) (C) of the 1992 Constitution;that states among other things: ‘All persons shall have the right to freedom to practice any religion and to manifest such practice’.”COMOG
COMOG further noted that the Muslim community shall continue to remain calm as responsible citizens;and wait on the GES to work to bring the matter to a peaceful conclusion.
In the wake of the Wesley Girls High School religious controversies, the GES issued a directive that,;Muslims should be allowed to observe their religious obligations after the Headmistress of the School was found to have prohibited a Muslim girl from observing the obligatory Ramadan fasting.
However, the school defied the directive by the GES. The Church also backing the school’s decision said they cannot accede to the directive by the GES.