By Abdulai Harun/Benjamin Adamafio Commey, GNA
Accra, Oct. 12, GNA - The Muslim community in Ghana has expressed concern over what it calls a discrimination and marginalization against its women by a section of the public due to their faith.
It said even though the 1992 Constitution of Ghana guarantees every citizen the right to religion and worship, some state institutions and individuals were infringing on this rights of Muslim women, especially those who wore hijabs to work.
Briefing the Muslim community and the media on Saturday in Accra after a peaceful walk to drum home their displeasure, Sheikh Aremiyawo Shaibu, the Spokesperson for the National Chief Imam religious intolerance in some countries around the world had derailed the peace and retarded the growth and development of such nations.
“We see the rights of our women being violated by public institutions, which is very disturbing and disappointing that in this era, Muslims are assembling this way talking about their rights, it's so disappointing.
The hijab is part of the identity of a Muslim woman, which must be accepted by all, irrespective of one’s belief”, he said.
He therefore called on the National Peace Council, national security agencies and Ghanaians to understand the implications such a situation posed to the security of the country and work to end such a behaviour.
He said the leaders of the Muslim Community would engage relevant state authorities to ensure an amicable solution to the situation.
“We are also planning some other events, especially a round table discussion with heads of public institutions such as West African Examination Council (WAEC), Midwifery Council, Nurses Council, National Security, the Police, the Ghana Education Service (GES), the Ministry of Health because we want this thing to be addressed once and for all.
“I know WAEC does not have any policy of discrimination, GES does not have, Ministry of Health does not have either, but persons under these institutions are using their discretion to discriminate. It is for them to therefore identify such people and deal with them publicly”, he said.
The walk organised by the Muslimah Mentorship Network, an advocacy group in partnership with Muslim Parliamentary Caucus, office of the National Chief Imam, National Council of Zongo Chiefs and Muslims Female Graduates Association of Ghana, among others was on the theme: “Hijab is an Identity”.
It was attended by women, men, students, children, Zongo chiefs, Islamic Scholars and some members of the Muslims Parliamentary Caucus, among others.
Mr Alhassan Suhuyini, the Member of Parliament for Tamale North Constituency and a member of the Muslims Parliamentary Caucus said institutionally, Ghanaians did not have problem with people wearing hijab but the actions of some few intolerant people heading these institutions gave the Muslim community a cause to worry.
“This is not just a fight for Muslims but one for all peace loving Ghanaians”, he said.
Madam Bashiratu Kamal, the Convener and a member of the Muslimah Mentorship Network also called on employers to rather look out for competence and professionalism from their Muslim employees as wearing the hijab would not impede their level of intelligence.
She said since the laws of the country did not prevent a Muslim woman from wearing the hijab to work, the group was ready to take on any institution that might discriminate against its members on such basis.