President John Dramani Mahama has announced that government would collaborate with the Saudi government to increase the Hajj pilgrimage quota for Ghanaian Muslims from the current 6,000 to 10,000 pilgrims next year.
He said with diligence and proper organization, Muslims travelling on pilgrimage from Ghana had increased from 3,400 in 2009 to 5,700 this year and there was the need to increase the quota to create opportunities for more Muslims to visit the holy land.
President Mahama announced this when he visited the pilgrims at their relocated Hajj village near the Accra Polo grounds on Monday.
So far, four batches of the pilgrims have already enplaned to Mecca for the Hajj performance, while others are expected to also travel in the next few days to meet the deadline.
President Mahama advised the Muslims to uphold the image and reputation of Ghana by avoiding negative practices that could undermine their mission for visiting the holy land.“I want all of you to go and portray yourselves as law abiding Ghanaians, which will continue to raise the image of Ghana in the outside world in the coming years.”
He also appealed to them to, during their pilgrimage pray for peaceful elections in December this year, adding that “This year’s elections will be the most peaceful and I can assure you that it is only God that will choose the leader for this country.”
The prospective pilgrims sang a number of Muslim appellations amidst drumming and dancing to welcome the President to the village and to also demonstrate their appreciation for the relocation of the Muslims to a more spacious environment.