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General News of Thursday, 30 August 2018

Source: ghanaweb.com

National Cathedral brouhaha: Apologise to Christian community - Razak Opoku

The Concerned Voters Movement (CVM) has called on the National Chief Imam's PRO, Sheikh Aremeyaw Shuaib to retract and apologize to the Christian community of Ghana for stating that the National Cathedral of Christians should have been considered as an Inter-Faith Edifice.

Sheikh Aremeyaw told the media on Tuesday, August 28, 2018 that all the discourse on the now-controversial Christian non-denominational cathedral should be assessed within this context.

“I think that some of those who have made responses and made remarks have not been able to state the context that will make people understand and so certain comparisons are being made that are in my view, misplaced and unwarranted.”

But in a statement signed by the group's Founder and President, Razak Kojo Opoku and copied to GhanaWeb, he described the National Chief Imam's PRO statement as reckless and highly irresponsible and has the tendency to anger the Christian community of Ghana.

The statement has called on Sheikh Aremeyaw to retract and render an unqualified apology to the Christian community.

"Sheikh Aremeyaw should better mind his own business. He should retract his statement and apologise accordingly to the Christian Community of Ghana for stating that the National Cathedral of Christians should have been considered as an Inter-faith edifice", the statement urged.

The statement further commended the NDC government led by former President Jerry John Rawlings for building a National Mosque at Kawukudi in Accra for the Muslims and asked what is wrong with this current government to also build a National Cathedral for the Christians.

"In fact, Jerry John Rawlings led Government and John Mahama led government significantly contributed to the establishment of the National Mosque. The land for the National Mosque at Kawukudi was freely given to the National Chief Imam by the Rawlings Government", the statement emphasized.

"So what is wrong if President Akufo-Addo led Government aids the Christian Community to equally have access to free land for the establishment of the National Cathedral?", the statement asked.

The statement asked, "If a minority Muslim deserves a National Mosque how much more the Majority Christian Community?"

Background

President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s project to build a National Cathedral has been hailed by some religious groups and a section of the public, however, it seems to have ruffled the feathers of a few other interest groups.

The current major opposition to the construction of the landmark that was designed by the Ghanaian architect David Adjaye has been its planned location.

The 14 acres that the magnificent building will occupy is partly the location of the residence of some Appeal Court Judges and other important state institutions.

The cathedral will be an interdenominational Christian cathedral and will be a thanksgiving edifice to God as part of Ghana's 60th-anniversary celebrations, the President has said.

A private citizen, James Bomfeh, is also in court to challenge the constitutionality of state involvement in the erection of the National Cathedral and other religious activities like the organisation of the Hajj for Ghanaian Muslims.

According to Mr Bomfeh, a member of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), the framers of the Constitution strived at fairness for every individual’s religious belief when they stated that the state must leave religious matters to the individual.

The Supreme Court is yet to pronounce judgement on the matter, but the government has already sent quit orders to residents whose homes and properties are situated on the stretch of prime land to be used for the cathedral.

Below is the full statement

Sheikh Aremeyaw Shouldn't dare Meddle in the Affairs of Christianity - CVM

In order to continue to enjoy and sustain the lasting fruitful cooperation, peace, stability and Unity between Christians and Muslims in Ghana, it will be very prudent and ethically wise for the spokesperson of the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Aremeyaw Shuaib to desist from making unnecessary commentary on the establishment of the National Cathedral by the Christian Group of Churches in Ghana.

It is quite suicidal for Sheikh Aremeyaw to suggest that the proposed National Cathedral should have been an Inter-faith edifice. This statement is an insult to the Christian Community in Ghana.

According to the population statistics of Ghana, the Christian population is around 74.1% followed by Islam which is around 17.5%.

In spite of this significant population difference between Christians and Muslims, no member of the Christian Community has ever suggested that the establishment of the National Mosque was unnecessary and should have been considered as Inter-faith edifice.

If a minority Muslim deserves a National Mosque how much more the Majority Christian Community?

The National Mosque of Muslims was built under the auspices of the Turkish Government supported by Ghana Government. In fact, Jerry John Rawlings led Government and John Mahama led Government significantly contributed to the establishment of the National Mosque. The land for the National Mosque at Kawukudi was freely given to the National Chief Imam by the Rawlings Government.

So what is wrong if President Akufo-Addo led Government aides the Christian Community to equally have access to free land for the establishment of the National Cathedral?

Ghana Government has been using taxpayers money to finance Muslims on their pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj) but the Christian Community has been going on pilgrimage to the Holy land of Israel without the support of Ghana Government. However, the Christian Community of Ghana has never complained about Government support to Muslims on their pilgrimage to Mecca.

Sheikh Aremeyaw should better mind his own business. He should retract his statement and apologise accordingly to the Christian Community of Ghana for stating that the National Cathedral of Christians should have been considered as an Inter-faith edifice.

The statement of Sheikh Aremeyaw Shuaib is reckless, highly irresponsible, divisive and has the tendency to anger the Christian Community of Ghana.

Signed!

Razak Kojo Opoku

(CVM Founder and President)