The leadership of the Christian Council of Ghana has expressed disappointment in a comment made by the Spokesperson of the National Chief Imam Sheikh Aremeyaw Shaibu to the effect that religious tolerance in Ghana is a façade.
General Secretary of the Christian Council, Rev. Dr. Cyril Fayose told TV3’s Emmanuel Samani on the Mid Day news on TV3 Monday May 10 that the religious tolerance among Christians and Muslims in Ghana is not a façade but one that has been the envy of many around the world hence, no need to make utterances that have the propensity of jeopardizing this relationship.
Sheik Areyemaw Shaibu had indicated that big Christian churches are ganging up against Muslims in Ghana.
He said this on TV3’s Key Point on Saturday May 8 after the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the Christian Council of Ghana have issued a communique throwing support for the Methodist Church-Ghana as regards the prevention of some students at Wesley Girls Senior High School to fast during Ramadan.
The Bishops had said in the communique issued after an annual joint meeting of the two Christian bodies at the St James Catholic Church, Osu in Accra on Wednesday, May 5 that “We have discussed the issue prayerfully and have studied the various press statements that some stakeholders have released on the matter.
“We wish to endorse the position of the Methodist Church Ghana, which they succinctly outlined in their May 4, 2021 press release, and reiterate that the decision of the Wesley Girls Senior High School authorities on fasting is purely in the interest of the students.”
These were contained The two bodies also used the opportunity to hold an ecumenical service to pray for Christian unity, the well-being of the government and the people of Ghana and reflected on how to abide in Christ as a nation in order to have sustainability of strength and not wither away.
The leadership of the two bodies said in their discussion of issues of national interest, they took a strong exception to the directive of the Ghana Education Service (GES) issued on Saturday, May 1 to Wesley Girls High School as regards fasting rules for its students.
They explained that mission schools have been guided by religious traditions of the respective churches from their inception in the country.
“Even in the more advanced democracies in the world, such a space is granted the various churches in the running of their respective mission schools.
“Therefore, we respectfully wish to state that the Ministry of Education, GES or any other stakeholder must not undermine the Codes of Conduct of the various mission schools, which have ensured their discipline and high academic standards for almost two centuries in Ghana.”
Commenting on this development Sheik Aremeyaw Shaibu told the host of the Key Points Abena Tabi that “In Presbyterian Boys Secondary School (PRESEC) which is one of the best schools in this country, we have Muslim students there, they have a patron in the school who caters for their needs in matters of discipline. They pray in school, they fast and do everything.
“These practices have never reduced the academic ranking of PRESEC. My worry is the ganging up by these big Christian organizations, the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference and the Christian Council not taking a step back to look at this dispassionately but rather endorsing this.”
Reacting to Shekh Aremyaw’s utterances, Cyril Fayose said that “I am a bit disappointed because we have an issue at stake that we are trying to deal with.
“It is something that is new in the terrain that we are working in, we have had various responses but to draw up very sweeping generalization and conclusions based on a communiqué that was issued by the Christian Council and the Catholic Bishops, to say the least, is unfortunate.
“I believe that we have a very good relationship that is the envy of many in the world, among Christians and Muslims in Ghana. Even in marriages, usually, there are some difficulties and problems so in this marital relationship between us and the Muslims there will be hitches and hitch-ups every now and then. If we are trying to resolve it and somebody describes everything we are doing as a façade, it is quite unfortunate. It is a statement that I think my good friend Sheik Aremeyaw should apologize for and withdraw if possible.”