Third National Muslim Conference begins in Accra
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Accra: Representatives of Muslim stakeholder groups have converged in Accra over the weekend for the third edition of the annual National Muslim Conference.

The theme for this year’s conference was “Promoting Religious Freedom and Rights in Ghana: The Role of the National Muslim Conference.”

Items to be deliberated on at the conference include the establishment of an Arabic and Islamic Education Board and a Committee for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), which formed part of the Muslim Conference strategy on education.

There will also be discussions on the establishment of a Muslim chamber of commerce to foster the growth of Ghanaian Muslim businesses.

At the opening ceremony, Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam, Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance, speaking on behalf of President Nana Akufo-Addo, said the government was committed to protecting the rights of citizens.

“We are working to create an environment where every Ghanaian can practice their faith freely, access quality education and health care, and enjoy equal opportunities in all sectors of our society.
“The subject of freedom cannot be complete without economic freedom. The historical economic gap must be addressed,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Kingsford Bagbin, his Special Advisor, Ambassador Jonathan Magnusen, said the role of the National Muslim Conference was pivotal in advocating for the rights and interests of the Muslim community.

He urged the conference to explore ways of advancing the legal rights and representation of the Muslim community through collaboration and networking.

“By working collaboratively, we can find solutions that will enhance religious freedoms and tolerance and promote equal opportunities for all.”

He pledged his commitment to providing the necessary financial, moral, and material support to ensure that the conference becomes institutionalised.

The Vice Chairman of the Management of the National Muslim Conference, Yussif Jajah, said it was important for Ghanaian Muslims to keep an “eagle eye” on existing laws and new laws to be enacted in the country.

This, according to him, is to ensure that the promotion and expansion of the frontiers of human rights do not lead to the denial of the rights of Muslims and believers in God.

“We are in a period in which the entire human race is confused as to what is to be included in the basket of human rights,” he said.

The Member of Parliament for Ayawaso North stated that Muslims have a duty to ensure that the rights of their communities are protected and upheld in harmony with the principles of our great nation.

He said, “It is our responsibility to work together to create an environment where Muslims can practice their faith freely without discrimination or prejudice.”

“The National Muslim Conference is not about any creed. It is about the wellbeing of the Ghanaian Muslim as a tax payer and citizen of the Republic of Ghana,” he said.

Spokesperson of the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Armeyaw Shuaibu, said guaranteeing the freedom of everyone is a sure way of promoting peace and harmony.

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“We cannot have a democracy where there is no freedom and a situation of diversity, especially one that has to do with religious diversity,” he said.

In attendance at the conference were the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Usman Nuhu Sharubutu; the Deputy National Imam of Ahlusunnah Wal Jamaa, Sheikh Kamil Mohammed Kamil; the Chairperson of the Ghana Muslim Mission, Dr. Sheikh Amin Bonsu; and the National President of the Tijjaniya Muslim Movement, Sheikh Abdul Wadud Haroun Ciessey

Also present were the National Imam of the Shia Muslim Community, Sheikh Abubakar Ahmad Kamaludeen; Maulvi Mohammed Bin Salih, Ameer of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission; the former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Ahmed Alhassan; the Chairman of the Muslim Caucus of Parliament, Umar Farouk Aliu Mahama; and the former Chairperson of the Muslim Caucus of Parliament, Muntaka Mubarak.

The National Muslim Conference of Ghana, which is registered and therefore has a legal existence and, as such, can sue and be sued in a competent court of law, is established under a deed signed by the leaders of all Muslim groups in Ghana.

These include the Ahmadiyya, Tijaniyya, Ahlu Sunnah, Shia, the Ghana Muslim Mission, and the Muslim Caucus of Parliament.

It has an administrative structure where the National Chief Imam is the head of the institution and the chair of its governing body.

The second layer of the structure is the management board, which is currently chaired by a Member of Parliament, Alhassan Tampuli.

The Management Board comprises members and officers of Parliament, selected Muslim professionals in the fields of education, health, engineering, law, and finance, as well as representatives of all the Muslim sects in Ghana.

It has committees to deal with issues of education, health, finance, law, and publicity, among others.

The conference also has a secretariat, which, at full capacity, is expected to have finance, legal, education, and health directorates.

The secretariat, which is headed by the General Secretary, would be responsible for the day-to-day administration of the activities of the conference, including the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes to be considered and approved by the Board and the Governing Body.

The conference will, among other things, serve as a mouthpiece for all Muslims on matters of mutual concern, provide a forum to deliberate on national policies and programmes, and provide opportunities for Muslims to participate in the legislative process through the submission of memoranda to committees of parliament.

It also intends to represent Muslims and seek redress in the courts of the land on matters affecting the legal and fundamental rights of Muslims in Ghana.

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