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Opinions of Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Columnist: Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai

Chief Imam is a unifier, cannot turn the seat of government into Islamic center

The National Chief Imam Sheikh Dr. Osman Nuhu Sharubutu is a nonaligned and uniting force who has worked with all governments of Ghana and all religious groupings on behalf of Muslims since becoming the leader of Muslims in the early eighties.

It is known all over that he has worked cordially with former President Jerry John Rawlings from 1993 to 2000, President John Agyekum Kufuor from 2000 to 2008, Late President John Evans Atta Mills from 2008 to 2012, Former President John Mahama from 2012 to 2016 and President Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo from 2016 till date.

With regard to the other religious grouping the National Chief Imam is in close relationship with them working for peace and orderly development through Ghana Peace Council and other inter religious committees.

As part of his duty to the nation he receives invitation from governments to functions where he prays for the nation.

All succeeding governments also participate in Islamic ceremonies such as Eid al Fitr and Eid al Adha during which all the succeeding government give messages to Muslims by the presidents at the Independence Square in Accra with the regional imams also playing the same roles with regional ministers.

The latest encounter of the presidency with the National Chief Imam was the visits of the Vice President Dr Bawumia to the residence of the national Chief Imam during this month of Ramadan to break his fast with him.

This was followed with a visit by the National Chief Imam and his entourage to the Flagstaff House the seat of government, where the Vice President Mahmudu Bawumia organized an iftar ceremony for the National Chief to break his fast at the presidency.

This was a solemn religious occasion during which the national Chief Imam read qur’anic verses meant to give praise to God for his mercies bestowed on the nation so far.

On behalf of the Muslims of Ghana the National Chief Imam gave thanks to the Almighty for His mercy to us and the Government of Nana Akufo Addo for its efforts to unite the people and Muslims regardless of their party colors.

Most people acknowledge the fact that the style and leadership of the current National Chief Imam have contributed towards unity understanding and orderly development of Ghana.

Being a multi religious nation in which the constitution guarantees freedom of religion, it is in order for other religious groups such as Christians to visit the seat of government occasionally to offer prayers to the nation just as happened during the tenure of office of late president John Evans Atta Mills who held regular Christian prayers at the castle at Osu Accra.

Though some people kicked against it a whole lot of people consider it as a step in the right direction. Ghana’s former envoy to India Sam Pee Yalley has the right express his views on the prayer sessions by Muslims at the seat of government during the Ramadan. However, apart from one off prayers by Muslims and Christians, I don’t believe that the seat of government would be turned into a mosque or a church where regular daily prayers would be held.

Executive Director eanfoworld for sustainable development abdulai.alhasan@gmail.com/eanfoworld@yahoo.com 0244370345/0208844792/0274853710