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Religion of Monday, 29 July 2013

Source: Daily Guide

No to marital age change – Muslim Mission

The Ghana Muslim Mission has kicked against any attempt to increase the marital age of females in the country from 18 to 23 years, insisting the status quo must be maintained.

Government Statistician Dr Philomina Nyarko recently suggested that the marital age for girls should be increased from 18 to 23 years to ensure that young women were physically, socially and psychologically prepared before bearing children.

However, reacting to the suggestion at a news conference in Accra, the Imam and acting National Chairman of the Ghana Muslim Mission, Sheikh (Dr) Amin Bonsu, argued that child bearing at an dvanced age could also bring complications to many women.

Dr Amin Bonsu who is also the CEO of Ameen Scientific Herbal Clinic pointed out that by age 18, most women are found to be ready for marriage and produce children contrary to Dr Nyarko’s suggestion.

“There are significantly many development factors including biological, cultural, social and technological; which ensure that girls are physical matured for marriage by age 18,” he asserted.

According to Sheikh Bonsu, reports indicate that in the Central Region alone, nearly 14,000 girls got pregnant last year through pre-marital sex.

“Delaying their marriage means we are going to experience more young girls getting pregnant without having responsible men who will care for them during pregnancy, child bearing and their babies,” he stated.

Sheikh Bonsu said lack of proper care for these pregnant girls could compel them to engage in unsafe abortion methods that could lead to high rates of maternal deaths in the country.

“This, therefore, posses the fear that delaying their marriage to 23 years will give room for more teenage pregnancies, illegal abortion, maternal deaths, HIV/AIDS, unplanned births and many more other consequences on these girls, their babies and the society at large,” Sheikh Bonsu stressed.

He said instead of talking about increasing the marital age, there should rather be advocacy and emphasis on proper parental care and responsibility.

“Educational institutions must also inculcate moral and life skills training into school curriculum like it used to be in the past, instead of focusing only on the intellectual and academic development of our children,” Sheikh Bonsu suggested.

Religious institutions, he further advocated, must concentrate on preaching good morals and shaping the character of their people rather than spending too much time on business issues.

“The society, traditional leaders and our political leaders must uphold and honour people with good moral character and not riches, social status,” he added.

According to him, placing too much emphasis on birth control and reducing population growth was not a better approach to the development of the country.

He said proper planning of the economy was the most appropriate approach to population growth issues, decrying that countries spend much resources on birth control and reducing population than expenditure that will ensure economic growth.

“We suggest that families and the country must use available resources for proper planning of families including spacing births, allocation of resources for children upbringing and education,” Sheikh Bonsu suggested.

Sheikh Bonsu used the occasion to appeal to all Muslims and the general public to desist from any unpleasant acts that would derail the peace the country currently enjoys after the Supreme Court's verdict on the presidential election petition.

“We are pleading with everyone to respect the verdict of the court. What is important is the need to keep our nation peaceful and prosperous.

We also call on the petitioners and respondents as well as the political parties to speak to their supporters not to engage in acts of violence before or after the Supreme Court verdict,” Sheikh Bonsu urged.