The Coalition of Muslim Organizations, Ghana (COMOG) wants government to stop supporting Muslims who embark on annual pilgrims to Mecca.
The group argues that government’s interference has adverse implications for unity and cohesion among the various religious groups in the country.
Government annually facilitates the Hajj Pilgrimage for Muslims at a subsidized cost.
COMOG made the remark in a statement to express disquiet over plans by government to put up a National Cathedral in a circular state like Ghana.
COMOG) in a statement signed by its National President, Sheikh Dr Al-Hussien Zakaria, chastised government for its involvement in religious matters.
“The coalition would like to express serious concern about the increasing involvement of the Government of Ghana in religious matters and its implication for national unity and cohesion.
Form more than a decade now, COMOG have continually insisted on the need for government to relinquish its stake in the organization of Hajj and allow Muslims to handle the pilgrimage as a purely private spiritual exercise.
While our efforts continue to achieve this goal, we were startled by the government’s meddling in yet another religions endeavor: the construction of a cathedral.”
Government has received backlash over its decision to evict some nine Court of Appeal judges and other residents around the Ridge area in Accra to pave the way for the construction of the National Cathedral.
Although government said the project will be funded by private institutions, COMOG in a statement signed by its National President, Sheikh Dr Al-Hussien Zakaria said the group suspects the construction of a national cathedral is a state project, adding that government is only using the clergy as a cover-up.
Sheikh Zakaria in a Citi News interview “we know that this idea is purely government’s idea and is now inviting Christians into [it].”
Although COMOG said it is not against the construction of a national cathedral, it believes that “Christians in Ghana are capable of building a cathedral without government’s involvement or sponsorship.
“Just as the Government of Ghana has not been involved in the construction of religious edifices for Muslims, Traditionalists, Hindus etc, it should not be involved in the efforts by Christians to build themselves a cathedral.”
The group said government’s seeming support to Muslims and Christians “constitutes state sponsorship and promotion of Islam and Christianity respectively. In a secular nation with multiple faiths, this promotion of Islam and Christianity constitutes an affront to the letter and spirit of the Constitution of Ghana which bars the state from any promotion or sponsorship of religious activities.”
The group in its statement also lambasted government for deciding to demolish some public facilities to pave way for the construction of the cathedral amounts to “wanton destruction of state property.”
“We join well-meaning Ghanaians…in calling for the relocation of the cathedral to another part of Ghana where it can be constructed at little cost to the state.”
Halt demolition plans
The coalition also in its statement called on the President, Nana Akufo-Addo to halt the planned demolition exercise “and any other activities that will cause permanent damage to or loss of state propert until the suit at the Supreme Court is heard. The government should also return the mandate for the future organization of Hajj into the hands of Ghanaian Muslims.”