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Opinions of Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Columnist: Imam Abdul Hamid Musah

Parents should be observant

Imam Abdul Hamid Musah of the Tudu Central Mosque in Accra last Friday advised parents to be mindful about the characters of their children’s friends.

He was speaking during the Friday sermon at the mosque prior to the prayers for the soul of Nazir Nortei Alema, the Ghanaian youth whose death while serving in the ranks of ISIS has been announced.

It is important that the cleric has touched on an important subject which for no apparent reason has largely been overlooked by society. Parents hardly question their children about who their friends are and sometimes do not care to ask questions about why such children sometimes do not even pass the night at home when they are on holidays.

Even more lamentable is the case of girls who are allowed such freedom.

In as much as children should be given a certain degree of freedom to develop their talents, this should not be unfettered because it has the potential of wreaking rather dangerous repercussions as befell Nazir Nortei Alema.

We should not take things for granted and assume that because our children appear gentle and cannot fall prey to the manoeuvres of ISIS recruiters and so we turn our attention from their activities.

The world has changed with dangerous extremist characters prowling the length and breadth of the globe in search of disciples to go and die for their warped and crazy cause presented as religious war or jihad.

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It is fantastic and eye-opening that the cleric has distanced Islam from the madness called ISIS activities which our youth – both Muslim and others – should steer away from. Parents have an important role to play in this direction so that the youth are not overtaken by the antics of recruiters.

This young Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) graduate who joined the ranks of the dreaded ISIS was very humble and did not show any visible traits of wishing to join the so-called Islamists until the unexpected drift, and now death, happened.

Although the initial report had it that the father started observing strange changes in the demeanour of his son, he did not think that it was worthy of intervention.

Now he is the wiser about the need for parents to monitor their children and to pull the brakes where necessary. This is exactly what the cleric pointed out and which should be a guiding principle in the bringing up of children, no matter their ages.

Expressing love to our children does not mean unfettered freedom. Indeed, that is dangerous and can be likened to allowing our children to engage in alcoholism and other perilous lifestyles which do not inure to their good health out of a so-called love for them.

We must crack the whip where necessary: parents should be in constant touch with their children and pose the necessary questions when they discover unusual developments. As for Nazir, all we can do is ask for God’s mercies for his gentle soul and the fortitude for his parents to bear the painful loss.