President Akufo-Addo has appealed to all religious groups in the country to exude peace and tolerance in a virtual address to mark the 2021 Eid Ul Fitr celebration.
In the wake of the squabbles between members of the Muslim and Christian communities of the country, he pointed out that religious tolerance is a blessing that has served Ghana very well over the years and must therefore be protected.
“Our young people deserve a peaceful atmosphere to be able to deal with the many challenges of studying and acquiring knowledge. Parents certainly must have a keen interest in schools into whose care they entrust their children and may I plead with all of us that we keep the tolerance that has served us so well in matters of religion,” the President said.
The plea comes in the wake of the Wesley Girls High School fasting squabble which erupted when the authorities of the school, which has the Methodist Church as parent church, disallowed some Muslim students from fasting during the Ramadan month.
Though the school has explained that the prohibition is part of a longstanding rule of conduct in the school, members of the Muslim community have not taken the disallowance lightly, accusing the school and Methodist Church of religious intolerance.
President Akufo-Addo said, the Constitution of Ghana guarantees the freedom of religion to every person including students and therefore that right should be available to all.
He specified Article 12(C) of the 1992 Constitution for reference. “It is worth reminding ourselves that the national constitution guarantees the Freedom of worship for all its citizens,” he said.
The President also lamented that the squabble is undermining the boarding school’s role as a place for socializing the citizens of Ghana. “The boarding schools in our country have traditionally served as the training grounds for learning about tolerance and losing the fear of the unknown. That is where young Ghanaians learn to eat each other’s food. That is where they learn the songs and dances of the different parts of the country. This is where they learn about each other’s religion and that is where lifelong friendships are formed”, the President stressed.”
He assured that action has already started towards resolving the Wesley Girls impasse.
“I’m happy to state that in the specific case of the incident of one of our greatest schools, Wesley Girls Senior High School, which has given rise to the recent discourse on religion, the authorities; i.e the Ministry of Education under its new Minister, the leaders of the Christian and Muslim communities and the leadership of the school are engaged in solemn discussions about the way forward and I’m very hopeful that a satisfactory solution will be found,” he said.