The Education Ministry has sought to calm nerves over the ongoing debate about religious rights and spaces between Muslims and mission schools.
In an interview on the Citi Breakfast Show a Deputy Education Minister, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa said this should not be viewed as a crisis situation and that the Ministry is determined to use dialogue to resolve the debate.
[contextly_sidebar id=”fGE9UYeRyQ7ejtWjVP5sc0cuarmmGerX”]The Catholic Bishops Conference on Tuesday issued a statement cautioning government to desist from issuing “unwarranted threats” to all heads of public institutions over the raging debate on whether Muslim students should attend Christian related activities in the schools.
They also advised that the National Peace Council must be allowed to resolve the matter but according to Ablakwa, the President in no way threatened heads of institutions.
This comes on the back of a directive given by President John Mahama to all heads of institutions to allow Muslims to practice their religion and also to desist from forcing them to attend Christian religious activities.
The President indicated that any individual who flouts the directive as stipulated in the1992 constitution will be sanctioned according
But Ablakwa clarified saying, “we want to state for the avoidance of doubt that President Mahama did not seek to intimidate, harass or threaten anybody or any head of institution… The President was only issuing a reminder about the constitution because we are all under the constitution and it was not a threat at all. We want to state that for clarity.”
The Deputy Minister indicated that the statement from the Catholic Bishops Conference has been thoroughly reviewed by the Education Ministry and the substantive Minister, Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyeman is scheduled to convene a meeting in the shortest possible time with all the stakeholders especially the religious heads – Christian and Islamic institutions.
He said government is not opposed to dialogue, adding that “we [government] do not think that there is any conflict now.”
According to him, the current system in the education and health sectors “has worked for us…All these institutions have allowed all manner of persons whether Muslims, traditionalists, Buddhists in these schools and have helped to build our cohesiveness of our republic, our unity, our nationhood so we believe that this system has worked for us and we should all encourage it.”
“If you take the Muslim schools in Kumasi, they have a lot of Christian students there…if you go to Islamic universities, we have a lot of Christians there. All of these things have helped us so that when you are choosing schools, it doesn’t matter which religion you belong to…so we don’t think there is any crisis at all,” he added.
Mr. Ablakwa maintained that the government is taking the initiative to call for this meeting to prevent any possible escalation in the matter.
“We just don’t want these matters to escalate because these are the things that sometimes, some extremists and fundamentalists can take advantage of take things out of context and out of proportion,” he said.
By: Efua Idan Osam/citifmonline.com/Ghana