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Building Islamic schools isn't the solution to suppressing Muslim students in Christian schools

WhatsApp Image 2021 05 10 At 14 Sheikh Tophic .jpeg Editor in Chief of Footballmadeinghana, Sheikh Tophic Sienu

Mon, 10 May 2021 Source: Sheikh Tophic Sienu

Often, when issues of Muslims being suppressed in Christian schools pop up, we sadly see some of our own Muslim brethren blaming our leadership for not building our own schools. Their argument is so loud that they insist having many Islamic schools will be the solution to the problems.

I disagree:

Well, apart from the fact that these schools are managed by our taxes, building Islamic schools isn't the solution to the problem of suppressing, maltreating, and infringing on the rights of Muslim students.

I'll tell you why:

I am a Methodist. Yes, I am. I attended Methodist schools from kindergarten to University and I am proud of that.

I was a teacher for 10 years before eventually deciding to stop and take up my journalism career fully. And in all the 10 years of my teaching, I taught in an Islamic school.

I was trained by Christians to teach in an Islamic school. Beautiful isn't it?

So if there is someone to speak on the topic of building Islamic schools just to serve the Muslim Ummah because of being suppressed in Christian schools, I am the right person to do that.

Now the main issue:

Building Islamic schools isn't the solution to the problems we are facing in our schools, rather it will create a problem we may use forever to solve. Yes, and I know what I am saying.

One of the major causes of religious conflicts all over the world is segregation and differentiation. When the two major religions in Ghana are kept apart, we will end up having a tense country resulting from religious intolerance.

Currently, our educational curriculum is designed such that we understand the religious practices of each other and appreciate their rituals. Our children and grandchildren will be denied of that if we begin to disintegrate and keep to our schools based on our tenets.

While attending the Methodist school, I understood their religious practices and in situations where teachers want to teach Islamic practices, they called on us to demonstrate for our Christian colleagues to understand.

This created an atmosphere of peaceful coexistence amongst us resulting from the understanding and appreciation of our rituals.

I recall that usually, some of our biased Christian teachers used to describe our class as 'Makaranta' when a question is asked in class and a chorus answer is given. This infuriated some of us and we had to confront our teachers to admit it was denigrating to us and they stopped.

Now, in situations where they say this in Christian schools with no Muslim opposition or an explanation for them to appreciate the Islamic way of teaching, it has a tendency of breeding chaos because the students they teach grow with the notion that Muslims are noisy and that may create dislike.

The peaceful coexistence amongst us has largely been the result of our educational structure and sociocultural upbringing and any attempt to keep the two religions apart will be a massive accident to the peace and unity of this country.

The energy we use in chastising our Islamic leadership and calling for our independent schools must be channeled to fighting for our constitutional rights to ensure the peace we are enjoying continues.

Now let me ask this: assuming without admitting that we start building our own schools and preparing our own students the Islamic way;

- What curriculum are we going to use?

- Who are the teachers going to teach that? Same Christian teachers to teach in Islamic schools?

- What will be their understanding and appreciation of the Muslim culture when they don't understand anything about Islam?

- What happens after school?

- Where will they work?

- Are we building our own companies, hospitals, businesses, etc to accommodate the graduates we are producing?

Let's think about this:

If our graduates will be working in public offices with our Christian brothers, then there is no need to fight for our own schools because the workplace will be full of tension as two people with different ideologies, oblivious of the dos and don'ts of each other will be working together. They can't coexist. It is better the coexistence starts from schools, as we have now, and translates to the workplace.

If we don't take care, we shall be having a country governed on two different religious lines and the cost of that will be too expensive for our children and their children to bear.

Right is right and wrong is wrong. This is why the constitution is there to provide a framework of peaceful coexistence. It's the manual of our well-being in the country. That's what we must fight for and not schools.

It is good to build schools but that's not the solution to the current situation.

Islam means peace and we stand for that but we just hate to be cheated or suppressed.

The Prophet (SAW) said: 'Laa darara, walaa diraara.' (Don't cheat, and don't be cheated)

Columnist: Sheikh Tophic Sienu