Don’t meddle in Hijab debate – Akufo-Addo tells politicians

The 2016 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has admonished politicians in the country not to meddle in the ongoing debate on religious rights in schools and workplaces.

According to Nana Akufo-Addo, Christians and Muslims have over the years co-existed in harmony. The NPP flagbearer stated that if there is a “misunderstanding” regarding the issue of religious rights in schools and workplaces, it should be resolved by a process of dialogue between Christian and Muslim leaders.

“Politicians should not be seen to be meddling in these issues,” Akufo-Addo stressed.

The NPP flagbearer said this on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 when he paid a courtesy call on the Ashanti Regional Chief Imam, Sheikh Abdul Mumin Haruna, at his residence in Suame, Kumasi.

Nana Akufo-Addo explained that the beauty about Ghana, which has been the envy of many countries in the region, has been the peaceful co-existence of its citizens despite their varied religious affinities. This, over the years, according to Akufo-Addo, has prevented religious conflict in the country.

“Even the document that binds our country, the Constitution of the Fourth Republic, recognises and advocates religious freedoms. It must stay that way. In my own view, this is not an issue politicians in the country should be seen wading into,” Akufo-Addo said. 

He continued, “The current issues in Christian and Muslim educational institutions should be handled by a process of dialogue between Christian and Muslim leaders. These leaders must sit down to talk for peace and understanding to prevail.”

Towards this end, Nana Akufo-Addo asked for the support of the Regional Chief Imam to help in taking this debate away from the political domain, despite attempts by some politicians to make this a political one. 

“This is not an issue any politician should be involved in. Let us take ourselves out of this,” the NPP flagbearer noted, adding that interference by politicians may not necessarily resolve this matter, “but could rather result in undesired consequences for Ghana.”

Nana Akufo-Addo also asked the Imam to pray for God’s guidance, wisdom, courage and good health for him, as he readies himself for the campaign leading to the December 2016 general elections. 

On his part, Sheikh Abdul Momin Haruna thanked Nana Akufo-Addo for the visit, and assured him of his resolve in contributing towards ensuring a timeous and smooth resolution of the ongoing debate.

“Some want to foster disunity amongst our religions, but we will not allow that to happen. We will not allow politicians into the debate, because it is obvious some want to wade into it for their narrow parochial and political interests. That is not how to build a nation. We spoke about it in the mosque last Friday, and we will do so again this Friday. Christians and Muslims have be co-existing in peace for decades in this country, and that will not change,” the Chief Imam noted. 

Nana Akufo-Addo subsequently paid a courtesy call on the Kumasi Sarkin Zongo, Alhaji Umar Farouk. 

Nana Akufo-Addo was accompanied by his running mate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia; Ashanti Regional NPP Chairman, Bernard Antwi  Boasiako (Chairman Wontumi); 1 st  Regional Vice Chairman, Dr Abdul Rauf;  Hajia Zeinabu Sallow, Regional Treasurer;  Mohammed Abdul Hamid, Ashanti Regional Nasara Co-ordinator; Manaf Ibrahim, Deputy Regional Secretary; and Dr Amoako-Tuffuor, member of the NPP’s National Council.

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