Feature Article of Saturday, 31 March 2012
Columnist: Alfa, Abdur Rahman Shaban
School Worship and the Brazen Right Abuse of the Muslim Child Many are the rabid and vicious online readers, who I suspect look at headlines and launch scathing attacks on writers of articles. To all such people; can we for once have a fruitful discourse on a touchy topic as the above? Thanks and please read on!!!
The spirit and letter of the supreme law of our land: the 1992 constitution; is unequivocal about the rights and liberties put at the disposal of all resident within and to some extent outside the jurisdiction. These rights of course come with responsibilities.
Under fundamental human rights section of the constitution is the TWO key freedoms are guaranteed; FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION AND FREEDOM OF WORSHIP. Pardon me if I am unable to go into the legalities and read beyond lay man’s comprehension.
The respective articles read thus; ‘All persons shall have the right to- Freedom of speech and expression, which shall include freedom of the press and other media; Freedom of thought, conscience and belief, which shall include academic freedom; Freedom to practice any religion and to manifest such practice.’
Quite clearly, the Supreme Law of the land (of which I adhere to in so far as it does not contravene Islamic law – Quran and Traditions of the Holy Prophet Mohammed,) allows for people of all faiths to practice their religion within the legal ambit as enshrined.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
But let all Muslims in Ghana ask ourselves whether or not we have asserted ourselves that much on the score of religious freedoms of our kids. Many Muslims kids (at different levels of the academic rung) have become victims of an anti – Islamic system that compels them to partake in a worship that they DO NOT ascribe to. All this is the case even as our religion frowns on compulsion of any kind that a person should become Muslim. Indeed, as far as Islam is concerned, an adherent of the faith is GUIDED by Allah and shall be of the successful on Judgment Day insha Allah.
That a Muslim child is thrust into the hands of the ‘kaafir’ – non believing – teachers from their formative years till their adolescence is a great ILL of at least my time and would be the case for the next generation if we don’t act and do so NOW.
Many times Muslim kids have come home singing hymns and other songs that are not in conformity with Islamic tenets and dogmas, why; because they are forced to attend school worship ceremonies usually on Wednesdays. Nauseatingly yet, these kids are to a large extent being forced to contribute to paying of ‘collection,’ another strikingly amazing area of compulsion failure to which they are punished. Mind you, this worship thing is in principle not sanctioned by the Ghana Education Service.
CALL TO ACTION
Clearly therefore, the law is on the part of Muslims but yet we fail woefully to assert ourselves and stand up to right what is a blatant wrong without a shred of doubt. For how long shall we allow Muslims kids to be sent through this blatant coercion? Shamelessly rather than unconsciously, even in Muslim schools that have been flooded by non Muslim teachers, this concept of worship is ongoing in sharp contrast to Muslim schools that have yet to force a non Muslim to partake in Salat (Compulsory prayers).
One case indeed very far from compulsion that can be cited is of how Ghana Lebanon Islamic Secondary School (GLISS) and other girls Islamic schools have made the wearing of veil compulsory for ALL students.
I am witness to a case in the school that I attended at Senior High School level, I was in St. Thomas Aquinas SHS – a catholic boys day school, and in the day we sang, danced, knelt and worshiped with the priests and nuns during mass. Whiles some practiced temporal Catholicism, the recalcitrant Muslims who skipped this mass – much as I disagreed with them – almost always had us all in trouble when the authorities hatched subtle plans to sabotage entry of Muslims, unconstitutional as it was.
Clearly a Muslim had better be absent than to show up in school during mass and be playing hide-and-seek with the authorities. That did not serve the general Muslim community and would never so do under any circumstances.
THE WAY FORWARD
Even if a block a day, let us start building our own schools where we can teach Muslim kids true unadulterated ISLAM void of all the unconstitutional compulsion that comes with it. Muslims should realize that all the schools that we fancy as prestigious and yearn for their children to enroll in earned their names over the years and certainly so must we build and empower our own schools to make it (them) insha Allah great and strong.
As for those government owned schools who clearly are flouting the GES and State Laws, let us stand up to them and insist that the right thing be done. Right is right and the opposite stands true.
Let us show some pride for ISLAM and if possible withdraw our kids from schools that refuse to abide by the law, subsequently, when it is that non Muslims enroll in our schools, let us not do what we protest is being done to ours.
For far too long, Muslims in this country (Ghana) have left too much to chance; it is as though we are meant to accept whatever situation that exists hook, line and sinker; yet we boast of a number of influential Muslims at every rung of the social ladder.
If we fail to act today, it shall be tantamount to having failed generations yet to be born. Mind you, the effects of technology and other intervening variables points to the fact that we must act NOW in our best interest of having obeyed the dictates of Allah. We are Muslims - one of million others fortunate to be worshippers of the one TRU GOD - Allah Subhaanahuu Wa Ta Aalaa. May HE be our aid, guide and protector in this life and forgive our trespasses here and in the hereafter. Salam!
© Abdur Rahman Shaban Alfa
- Abdur Rahman Shaban Alfa
Say: "O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Why do you reject the Ayat of Allah (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) while Allah is Witness to what you do?" QUR'AN 3:98