Ahlu-Sunna, Tijanniya clash at Afienya

The timely intervention of the police prevented a clash between two Muslim groups from degenerating into violence at Afienya, near Tema, last Friday.

Irate members of the Ahlu-Sunna and the Tijanniya Islamic sects, mostly young men, after prayers on Friday afternoon clashed over doctrinal differences and the use of the Afienya Central Mosque.

A combined team of policemen from Dodowa, Prampram and Tema had to resort to the firing of warning shots to disperse the mob to prevent their differences turning violent. 

No one has been arrested in connection with the clash.  Worshippers Searched 

The Dodowa District Police Commander, Superintendent of Police Mr Kwesi Ofori, said the police, acting on intelligence, heard about the intended clash and subjected worshippers to a search before they were allowed to enter the mosque.

The Chairman of the Muslim group in Afienya, Alhaji Osumanu Mohammed, told the Daily Graphic that the two groups had been at loggerheads with each other for more than three years.

“For 34 years the Ahlu-Sunna had been worshipping in the mosque with no problem. The place is for all Muslims. We all come to pray and go back home, but one sect cannot impose its beliefs on others who do not believe in them,” he said.

He said the feud started when members of the Tijanniya sect hung a white piece of cloth in the mosque and started sitting at that point to chant after each prayer session.

He said the Ahlu-Sunna group insisted that it was not a true Islamic practice and urged the youth who had hung the cloth to take it off.

“That became a big issue, but the Dodowa Police and the Office of the Police Imam of the Police Religious Affairs Unit brokered peace between the groups,” Alhaji Mohammed said.  Agreement reached 

An agreement was reached for the Tijanniyas to find a new place within three months, “but that did not happen”, he said.

After the three-month period had elapsed, a violent clash nearly took place but the police intervened.

The Ahlu-Sunnas, though reluctant, left the mosque after another agreement between them and the Tijanniyas, with the hope that “some stakeholders will help them find a new place”, a source in the community told the Daily Graphic.

However, after a while when the Ahlu-Sunna had not found a place of worship, they decided to go back to the Afienya Central Mosque.

According to Supt Ofori, the police went to the mosque and asked worshippers with any implement, such as knives, on them to go back home and drop them before they were allowed into the mosque. Clash after prayer 

However, after the Friday prayers, a clash ensued between the two groups.

There was heavy police presence around the mosque and in the community on Friday and Saturday. 

The Dodowa Police Commander said the police invited the leaders of both factions for a settlement of the feud.

Later on Saturday, the police engaged the factions involved in the matter, particularly the youth, to find an amicable solution to the problem.

The police said they had intensified patrol activities to contain any acts of lawlessness.

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