Ghanaians warned against interfaith conflict over GITMO two

Chairman of the National Peace Council is warning against religious polarization on the issue of the ex-Guantanamo Bay detainee.

Most Rev Prof Emmanuel Asante says people should not jeopardize national peace and harmony by fanning religious flames in the debate over whether Ghana should reject or accept the two detainees.

Various Christian groups including the Christian Council and Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches want government to send them away fearing their presence would expose the country to terrorist attack.

However, speaking through his spokesperson the National Chief Imam Sheikh Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu told Joy News the Muslim community welcomes the ex-detainees on religious grounds.

“On humanitarian grounds it is possible for us to be able to reintegrate any person that has a history of crime, but once that person has given up his criminal attribute, his humanity must be respected… Our religion considers that, compassion to anyone who is in need is a duty,” his spokesperson Sheikh Aremeyaw Shaibu revealed.

Speaking to Joy News Thursday in his private capacity, Most Rev. Prof. Asante, who is also the immediate past Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church, Ghana, underscored the importance of allowing people to express how they feel about the raging debate but was quick to add that those sentiments must be devoid religious colorations.

Most Rev Prof Emmanuel Asante
“We should not allow our positions to make the situation worse, and for brothers and sisters to see themselves as enemies,” he warned.

He acknowledged that people are objecting to the GITMO detainees settling in Ghana out of fear, largely because they two have been tagged as terrorists.

Most Rev. Prof. Asante is however convinced with dialogue Ghanaians would come to a compromised position to avoid the situation where religion would form the basis for either accepting or rejecting them.

“I don’t think we should use religion as a means of addressing this issue… Security of the nation should be the prime concern of all of us. And we do not accept people just because they belong to our religion or we do not reject them just because they do not belong to our religion, but we should look at it in terms of the security of the nation.”

Nonetheless, he emphasized the need to probe or investigate official responses to concerns about the possible threat to be posed by the detainees who are supposed to spend at least two years in Ghana.

Government was also charged to try and open up and update Ghanaians about measures being put in place to contain any likely threat to the nation.

“Once these things are done, I don’t think we have any right [to] allow these things to bring about any interfaith tension or conflict,” Rev. Prof. Asante stressed.

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