The National Chief Imam of Shia Muslims in Ghana, Sheikh Ahmad Abubakar Kamaludeen, has frowned upon the hosting of the two former Guantanamo Bay inmates in the country, explaining that their presence could trigger extremism.
“The Office of the Shia National Imam, Ghana, hereby uses this medium to condemn in no uncertain terms the sudden transfer of Mahmud Umar Muhammed Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammed Salih Al-Dhuby to Ghana,” the cleric said.
The recent terrorist attack in neighbouring Burkina Faso has fueled the perception that Ghana may be attacked, having aligned itself to the United States in the issue of combating terrorism.
Analysts believe that the two Al-Qaeda foot soldiers may not be the real threat but members of their network may see Ghana as axis of fighting terrorism, making the country susceptible.
Since the two persons, according to the cleric, have undergone ideological and military training under Taliban Al-Qaeda, their existence in Ghana, he maintains, irrespective of the time limit, may give rise to extremism and create a fertile ground for terrorism in the country.
The transfer of the two persons to the country raises serious questions much as it is important to be compassionate under such circumstances, even as it is important to be compassionate to refugees and migrants who find themselves in the country, he said.
The West African sub-region, Sheikh Ahmad Kamaludeen observed, has been saddled with the insurgency of those who seek to alter the status quo with their ideologies and in so doing created a certain negative perception about religion, especially Islam.
The two persons, he went on, would be better being in any of the Arab countries or Europe or the US – places which are in a better position to deal with such elements.
With US Congress outlawing the acceptance of these former detainees on their soil and the US Embassy Public Affairs Head in Ghana, Daniel Fennel, failing to clarify or even comment on the Classified 2007 US Intelligence Report on the two, makes the subject even more intriguing, according to Sheikh Kamaludeen, recalling also that the embassy official said he could not guarantee 100% the good conduct or otherwise of the two.
He cautioned commentators and the media to avoid propaganda and politics and rather deal with the subject properly and remember also that the fact that the two spent only four or five months during the Al-Qaeda training does not make them low level elements.
“An hour’s training at a terrorist training centre is enough to deepen and consolidate their belligerent posture which they may require years to rid them of,” he said as he condemned the argument that they received only five months of training.
He stated that “Abdel Hamid Abaoud, who is said to have masterminded the November 2015 terrorists’ attacks in Paris, was compassionately allowed to enter the EU as a refugee. Other reports also indicate that Abubakar al-Baghdadi was arrested by US forces and detained at the Bucca detention camp in Iraq, but was later released as a low-level prisoner who later became the leader of a global jihadi organization called ISIL-ISIS.”
The position of the National Chief Imam that the two men should be hosted on humanitarian grounds notwithstanding, “the Shiite Muslim community in Ghana strongly rejects their transfer to the country.”
By A.R. Gomda