John Mahama promises a two-day Eid-ul-Fitr holiday for Ghanaian Muslims
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Former president and flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama, has pledged to give Muslims in Ghana a two-day holiday to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, a festive day to mark the end of Ramadan.

He said the pledge was in a bid to address the challenge associated with moon sightings to end Ramadan fast and set the date for Eid-ul-fitr.

“We aim to address the issue where some of our Muslim community members are unable to enjoy the public holiday at the end of Ramadan due to the 29- or 30-day rule for sighting the moon.

“To do this, we will introduce an additional holiday to the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr,” he said during the 63rd Annual National Conference of the Ghana Muslim Mission in Kumasi on Friday, December 29, 2023.

Mr. Mahama said he would ensure this adjustment doesn’t adversely affect productivity by modifying the Public Holidays Act to maintain the same number of public holidays per year in Ghana.

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.

There had been calls for the Muslim holidays to be extended to cure the ills of Muslims observing Eid on different days because public holidays were not ideally given on Islamically recommended dates due to the unpredictability of moon sightings.

Key among the stakeholder groups to make the call was the Conference of Regional Imams of Ghana, which on October 8 urged the government to designate two days as official holidays for Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha to address recurring disputes over the commencement of these holidays.

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It would be recalled that about a fortnight ago, Francis-Xavier Sosu, an NDC Member of Parliament (MP) for Madina Constituency, 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.

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.

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