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Religion of Saturday, 2 February 2008

Source: GNA

Sheikh Basha recommends innovations in Hajj organisation

Tamale, Feb. 2, GNA- Government has been urged to assist the Muslim community to streamline the organisation of Hajj in the country to save Muslim pilgrims from hardship and psychological trauma they go through in performing the religious duty each year.

Consequently, government should ensure that the right people; faithful, sincere and committed Islamic scholars from all Muslim sects in the country took part in the organisation to foster problems associated with the pilgrimage. Sheikh Ibrahim Basha, General Overseer of the Masjidul-Bayaan Mosque in Tamale, made the appeal at a press conference in Tamale on Friday.

He noted that for some time now, Muslims who undertook Hajj went through difficulties adding but for the intervention of government, particularly this year the exercise would have been a total failure. Sheikh Basha suggested that pilgrims from the Northern part of the country could be air lifted from the Tamale Airport, saying the South African and Senegalese national teams currently in the country to participate in the Ghana 2008 flew directly from their countries to Tamale.

He also said in the 1970s, pilgrims' used the same airport on a number of occasions, adding that the facility was even better equipped now for monitoring air traffic than in 1970s. Sheikh Basha said such arrangements would also save aged pilgrims from the Northern part of the country and the Brong-Ahafo Region the ordeal of travelling between 14 and 16 hours to Accra before finally leaving for the Hajj.

He gave the assurance that aged pilgrims from the Upper East and Upper West Regions would be provided adequate accommodation while in Tamale awaiting their departure. Sheikh Basha urged government or any new authority that would be mandated to handle any Hajj activities to engage the services of experts in overseas travels to make the exercise a success. He said travel schedules could also be published in the media to avoid early trooping of pilgrims and those accompanying them to the Airports.

Sheikh Basha commended President John Agyekum Kufuor for his intervention, which made it possible for Ghanaian Muslims pilgrims to perform the Hajj last year and King Malik Abdallah of Saudi Arabia who agreed to extend the time of the closure of the Jeddah Airport to enable Ghanaian pilgrims land at there. Sheikh Basha prayed for victory for the Black Stars in their impending match against the Super Green Eagles of Nigeria on Sunday. 2 Feb 08

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