President Akufo-Addo has entreated religious leaders in the country to be tolerant of each other’s religion. He said they should not turn schools into ideological and religious fighting grounds.
Addressing the nation at the virtual 2021 Eid festival, he stated that schools serve as major grounds for socialisation, therefore, they shouldn’t be reduced to places to fight ideological and religious battles.
The President cited Article 12(C) of the 1992 Constitution which states that all persons have the right to practice any religion and to manifest such practice and noted that it is imperative for each religion to be tolerant of others.
The call follows recent squabbles between adherents of the two major religions in the country, Christianity and Islam, over the refusal of the management of Wesley Girls Senior High School to permit Muslim students to fast during the Ramadan period.
School authorities have explained that the decision is not about religion but one borne out of previous experiences regarding students who suffered health challenges while fasting.
However, this explanation has not satisfied members of the Muslim community. They want the school’s authorities to change the policy.
“It is worth reminding ourselves that the national constitution guarantees the Freedom of worship for all its citizens.
“The boarding schools in our country have traditionally served as the training grounds for learning 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 the songs and dances of the different parts of the country. This is where they learn about each other’s religion and that is where lifelong friendships are formed”, the President stressed.
He further noted that “our young people deserve a peaceful atmosphere to be able to deal with the many challenges of studying and acquiring knowledge. Parents certainly must have a keen interest in schools into whose care they entrust their children and may I plead with all of us that we keep the tolerance that has served us so well in matters of religion.”
He also gave an assurance that education authorities are working assiduously with religious leaders from both sides to come up with an amicable solution to the impasse.
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“I’m happy to state that in the specific case of the incident of one of our greatest schools, Wesley Girls Senior High School, which has given rise to the recent discourse on religion, the authorities; i.e. the Ministry of Education under its new Minister, the leaders of the Christian and Muslim communities and the leadership of the school are engaged in solemn discussions about the way forward, and I’m very hopeful that a satisfactory solution will be found,” he said.