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General News of Thursday, 6 September 2018

Source: Muhammed Faisel Mustapha

Muslim groups want government, Chief Imam to continue handling hajj operations

Three Muslim groups, the Ghana Muslim Broadcast Journalists Association, the Northerners and Zongos Concerned Youth Association of Ghana and the Ghana Hajj Research, have called on the government and the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osumanu Nuhu Sharubutu to continue with the handling of all organisational activities related to the affairs of Hajj in Ghana.

The groups who made the call during an interaction with the media revealed that there are calls by some groups for government to end its involvement in the hajj operations in Ghana which according to them amounts to the state interfering in a religious affairs, something they claimed was not in the right direction.

The groups recalled that, during the time of the former President John Agyekum Kuffour, some groups mounted pressure on him to handle the hajj operations to them which he did with devastating consequences.

They said there was serious mess due to backbiting and infighting among one anoher which resulted in a huge debt for the government to clear adding that the organization which handled the hajj left over 700 paid pilgrims stranded and later expressed dissatisfaction by sleeping at the residence of the National Chief Imam before the government was called upon to intervene to resolve the impasse.

The groups revealed that no government in the history of hajj Operations in Ghana appoint non- Muslims to head the Hajj Board, hence their call on the government and the office of the National Chief Imam to continue to appoint members to the Hajj Board.

The groups added that similar pressure were mounted during the NDC regime by some groups but the then NDC government refused to heed to their calls due to the mess and untold difficulties past experiences unleashed on innocent pilgrims.

The groups claimed that the same people who were responsible for the past mess and also exposed for sabotaging the 2017 and 2018 Hajj operations are at it again with a call on the government to dissolve the present hajj Board for their own selfish interest.

As a result, they have called on President Akufo-Addo and Vice President Dr. Mahmoud Bawumia to be guided by the activities of those groups under former President Kufour and not bow to pressure to hand over hajj operations to private individuals.

They revealed that their intelligence gathered indicate that some groups of people will on Friday, September 7 hold a press conference to criticise the current hajj board and mount pressure for its dissolution and appealed to the President and the Vice not to heed to such calls.