The Majority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka is calling on the Minister of Education and Minister of Health to call educational institutions that force Muslim students to attend church services to order, since it infringes on the rights of the students.
Most missionary schools in the country insist that every student, regardless of their religion, attend church service on Sundays at the boarding schools. According to Muntaka, President Mahama has on several occasions called for such practice to be stopped yet, some recalcitrant institutions have turned on a blind eye to the directive.
Mr Muntaka argued that the Muslim Community in the country sees the practice not only as an infringement on their rights but “disrespect to the President.” “That’s how the [Muslim] community interprets it… because the number one person [President] even gives instruction and people decide not to follow it.”
The Asawase legislator made the call in an interview with Citi News’ Richard Dela Sky on the backdrop of a petition forwarded to the National Peace Council by the Muslim Caucus in Parliament over the issue.
“I want to take this opportunity to plead with the Ministers of Education and Health because most training institutions fall under either education or health to avert their mind to the constitutional right of every individual…that they should let their office bare on the agencies under them to respect the constitution of this country by respecting the right of everybody not only Muslim,” he added.
Meanwhile the petition forwarded to the Peace Council cited 58 educational institutions in which such practice is prevalent.
The Muslim MPs in the petition also explained that they are not against the worship of God but “we are certainly not happy to see Muslim students in public schools in which Muslims have a vested interest as citizens and tax payers being compelled to worship in a manner other than what they believe in. In some extreme cases, Muslim students or workers are being punished or dehumanized for what they believe in.”
According to the petition “We are even more concern about the prevalence of this discriminatory practices in Government non-mission schools where heads and teachers ought to have known better the position of the laws. “ They however called on the Peace Council to intervene in the issue before it goes out of hand.
In a related development, the Muslim Community in the Western Region have embarked on a demonstration exercise to protest what they say is “human right abuses of Muslims in the country.”
One of the organizers of the demonstration, Mohammed Kamiru Balla told Citi News that they embarked on the protest because some Muslim students in second cycle institutions are forced to attend church service; a situation he described as “unacceptable.”