Christian MP lays private members bill to extend public holidays for Muslims
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Accra: Francis-Xavier Sosu, Member of Parliament (MP) for Madina Constituency, has tabled before the House of Legislature a private member’s bill to amend the law on public holidays in the country.

The Public Holidays (Amendment) Bill, 2023, seeks to, among other things, extend the period of public holidays for Muslims from the current one day each to two days for the Eid celebrations.

“The amendment seeks to include Tashreeq (a day after the Eid-al-Adha Festival) and Shaqq (a day before the Eid-al-Fitr) as public holidays and provide for related matters.” The MP explained in a statement.

Xavier-Sosu noted that freedom of religion is a fundamental right that must be guaranteed in a fair manner.

He observed that the current holiday regime has been unfair and discriminatory and does not allow for the full manifestation of the Islamic faith by Muslims as enshrined and guaranteed by the 1992 Constitution and other international laws and treaties.

“Being the second most dominant religion in Ghana, Ghanaian Muslims must have equal opportunities when it comes to the celebration of religious festivals,” said the human rights lawyer and activist.

Despite being the second dominant religion in the country, it was not until 1995 that Muslims in Ghana were granted public holidays to celebrate their festivities.

Among the Muslim populace, there have been calls for the Muslim holidays to be extended to cure the ill of Muslims observing Eid on different days, which is because public holidays are not given on Islamically recommended dates due to the unpredictability of moon sighting, which is, for instance, crucial to the ending of Ramadan fasting and celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr.

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One day of holiday each for the festivities has been described as inadequate for the activity-laden Muslim festivals.

It must be noted that Muslims generally have only two holidays to celebrate their religious festivities: Eid-ul-Fitr, which is marked at the end of a 30-day Ramadan fast, and Eid-ul-Adha, a festival of sacrifice to commemorate the sacrifice of Abraham to God.

This is contrary to their Christian counterpart, who collectively have about five holidays to celebrate religious festivities, such as Christmas on December 25, Boxing Day on December 26, Easter Monday, Good Friday, and New Year’s Day marked on January 1 every year.

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