Freedom Of Worship Under Threat As Fear Grips Ashongman Imam And Congregation


A ‘strange’ notice given by an official of the Ga East District Assembly to Muslims of Ashongman Estates, Accra to close down their mosque, within three days, has caused panic among Muslims of the area. The notice was delivered by an official of the Abokobi Zonal office of the Ga East District Assembly simply known as Charles acting under the in charge of “control of nuisance and infectious diseases”.

He did not give his full name and failed to provide proper contact address and his telephone number .The notice was delivered to the Imam of the mosque known as Ibrahim Toure and two others with the following reasons;

1. Operating mosque at unauthorized place without authority

2. Generating of excessive ‘noise nuisance’ in the neighborhood thereby causing discomfort

3. Causing obstruction on the public access way
4. No environment assessment report as at the time of inspection

5. Insanitary surrounding as at the time of inspection

6. No business operational license as at the time of inspection and

7. No permit as at the time of inspection
Finally Charles from the Ga East District Assembly ordered that the Mosque must stop operating and be relocated asking the Imam and his followers to report at room ten (10) of the Abokobi Zonal Office of the Ga East District Assembly.

When news of the ‘quit order’ got to the chief of the area Mr. Hassan Coulibaly he expressed surprise because no one had ever brought to his notice any information on the shortcomings of the Muslims in the mosque as spelt out in the said notice.

The Imam on his part on receiving the notice to close down the mosque informed the Muslims in the area. They got disturbed, denied all the charges leveled against the Muslims in the area as contained in the “quit order” notice.

The imam and his elders later lodged a complaint on the matter with the officer in charge of the newly built police station at the Atomic Hills of Ashongman Estates. A contingent from the police station was later sent to verify the situation. When they discovered the truth of the matter they advised the Imam and his followers to remain calm while the matter is investigated.

The imam and the elders of the area then concluded that the notice given for the closure of the mosque without justifiable reasons was uncalled for. The Muslims felt that the notice was an affront to the honor and dignity of Muslims in the area who have been very law abiding and peaceful so far. Indeed they felt that “the ‘quit order’ notice is an insult to Islam and Muslims in the area and Ghana as a whole”. In the first place they felt that “the noise level complained of in the notice to the Muslims is not as excessive as it is not beyond the acceptable levels set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)”.

The Muslims in the area said they were not presented with any scientific proof of them being too noisy in the area. All that the said Charles said regarding the filth created by the Muslims in the areas were not true but figment of his own imagination. Indeed the Muslims felt that “the mosque and its surroundings is one of the cleanest in Accra”.

Until now Muslims in the area said they had not heard of any individual or group of people calling for the closure of a mosque in Accra and any part of Ghana for no justifiable reasons. They said that no Muslim has ever called for the closure of a church however noisy they might be.

Under the constitution of Ghana, Muslims like Christians have the right to live side by side with each other in our neighborhoods and exercise their religious rights to worship freely. Indeed Christians have been going about beating drums in neighborhoods, preaching with microphones in wee hours of the days and preaching on moving vehicles unhindered. This is because Ghana is a secular country whose constitution guarantees freedom of religion and association. The Muslims appealed to the officer in charge of the Ga East District Assembly to investigate the matter and “bring to book the said Charles and his accomplices who have been harassing the Muslims of Ashongman Estates unjustifiably”.

The Muslims have learnt that some residents of the mosque area who live opposite the mosque are behind this nefarious activity.

We therefore call on the Environmental Protection Agency, the Ministry of Local Government and the Ghana Police Service under Mohammed Alhassan to investigate this matter and bring the culprits to book. If not the activities of Charles and his collaborators could create the condition for conflict in Ghana which has been peaceful all these years.

EANFOWORLD FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Box 17070 ARN
ALHAJI A ABDULAI [email protected] /[email protected] 233 20 8844791

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