Members of the Muslim community in Ghana have been called upon to desist from denigrating the Office of the National Chief Imam as just a Prayer leading office and not for any other development to the Muslim Ummah.
The call was made by the Asante Zongo Youth Union at a press conference in Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional capital recently.
The Union stressed that the suggestion that the Chief Imam’s Office should be a rotating structure that could have all other sects who have set up their national imamate only to compete for the National Chief Imam in case of vacancy, was a recipe for creating a destabilizing situation in “our harmonious coexistence irrespective of sectarian ideology”.
Speaking on the Union’s behalf at the press conference, the General Secretary Mohammed Habib Ali Gali, observed that “the Muslim communities were built on non-sectarian nature and therefore sectarian means of achieving high office must be avoided.”
Read the full statement below:
STOP TAGGING THE CHIEF IMAM’S OFFICE AS A SECTARIAN ENTITY
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen of the press. The Asante Zongo Youth Union is most grateful for our coming.
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, there was a consultative stakeholder meeting last week Saturday 29th August 2020 in Kumasi to consult members of the Muslim community on the issue of drafted constitution and structure on how the office of National Chief Imam should be administered from the perspective of non-sectarian.
The meeting seems to delegitimize the office of the National Chief Imam to suggest that the office of the National Chief Imam is just for Prayer leading office not for any other development to the Muslim Ummah. Therefore, it should be a rotating structure that could have all other sects who have set up their national imamate only to compete for the National Chief Imam in case of vacancy.
The Asante Zongo Youth Union takes this matter profoundly serious. It is a strategy of inciting and creating a destabilizing situation in our harmonious coexistence irrespective of sectarian ideology. The Muslim communities were built on non-sectarian nature and therefore sectarian means of achieving high office must be avoided.
As in most countries in West Africa and beyond the administration of the office of Imams in Ghana to be specific is been determined by the Chiefs.
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, religion and chieftaincy in our Ghanaian cultural setup are inseparable. The Religious Affairs Committee then under the National Commission on Culture now under the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious affairs has the constitutional mandate to work with Advisory Body on Muslim Affairs to consolidate any of these activities therefore any case of the so called drafted constitutions of Muslim Ummah in Ghana by the COMOG is not acceptable outside the consent of these bodies.
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, on the 25th day of May 1990 (Dinnel Islam) was registered as a religious body under the Religious Bodies (Registration Law, 1989 (PNDCL 221) by the Registrar of Religious Bodies to certify the advisory body on Muslim Affairs to the National Commission on Culture after the committee appointed to recommend personalities among the Muslim Ummah for consideration. Representatives were nominated from all the then ten regions which then recommended the composition and membership of the Advisory Body on Religious Affairs.
The late Sarkin Zango, his Eminence Alhaji Abubakar Ali III was the Head of Board of Trustees Dinil –Islam (Islam in Ghana) and member of the Kumasi Traditional Council was appointed as the Chairman of the Advisory Body with the following appointees:
Joint Secretaries: Sheikh Mahamoud Mohammed Gedel (Ghana Muslim Youth Movement) and Mr. Issah Owusu (Concerned Muslim, Kumasi) Organizers: Alhaji Mustapha Yahaya (Ex-officio member, Accra) and Alhaji Abu Abdul Rahman ( Ex-officio member, Accra) Recorder: Malam Safatu Ahmed (Ex-officio member, Accra)
This has affirmed the role of the Chiefs and Imams in the running of religious affairs. Chiefs in Islamic communities in the pre and during colonial times have been found to act as religious and traditional leaders until when they began to assign religious roles to others to lead. It is worthy of note that the Sarkin Zongo was head of Muslim Chiefs and President of Islamic Affairs in Ghana and was later changed to Head of National Board of Trustees, Dinil Islam, Ghana after the enactment of Religious Body Registration Law in Ghana.
The Asante Zongo Youth Union is happy with the exceptional leadership of His Grace, the National Chief Imam, Dr. Usman Nuhu Sharubutu for promoting peace and coexistence for better. We pray that he lives longer and stronger.
We therefore urge any individual or body to desist from any action that has the tendency to create tension in the Muslim Ummah and Ghana, especially in this electioneering period. We hereby use this medium to call on all Zongo and Ghanaian youth to avoid any acts of electoral violence and support to achieve peaceful election.
All sects must work to dedicate their attention to promote the welfare of the community if they have any development agenda for the Ummah than eyeing the Office of the National Chief Imam. The Asante Zongo Youth Union condemns any move by any organization to infiltrate in our communities the notion of making sectarian leadership.
We are calling on the Sarkin Zongo, His Eminence Alhaji Umar Farouq Saeed, the National Chief Imam, His Grace Dr. Usman Nuhu Sharubutu, the National Council of Zongo Chiefs, the National Association of Zango Chiefs, All Regional Chief Imams and Sarkin Zangos as well as other stakeholders to revisit and work the earlier recommended structure and duties of the Advisory Body on Muslim Affairs in order to ensure sanity, cohesion and development among the Muslim Ummah.
Thank you for coming.