By Margaret Jackson
May 12, 2012
Hate speeches are never tolerated anywhere in the world due to their propensity of turning peaceful scenes into explosive situations. When a hate speech catches fire innocent people who are minding their own business are normally caught up in the crossfire leading to several fatalities. That is why in advanced countries those who spew hate speeches do not get away with it.
Abdullah el-Faisal, who was born Trevor William Forest, in Jamaica, and immigrated to the United Kingdom (UK), became a Muslim cleric who started preaching hate speeches. Eventually the authorities in the UK who had had enough of El-Faisal’s hate speeches which called on his followers to murder Jews, Hindus, Christians and Americans arrested him and had him convicted for stirring up racial hatred.
El-Faisal was sentenced to prison for nine years and after serving four years he was deported by the British authorities back to Jamaica. After his deportation from UK he went to Botswana and did the same thing there and got kicked out of that country. El-Faisal did not learn his lesson and travelled to Kenya and did the same thing. Guess what? He got kicked out of Kenya too. That was the price El-Faisal paid for spewing hate speeches.
Not long ago, a Christian Coptic human rights group in Egypt sought an international arrest warrant in the UK against Sheikh Yousef al-Badri, a leading Muslim fundamentalist cleric for inciting Muslims to kill apostates from Islam in Egypt. It was reported that Sheikh Yousef al-Badri had stated "God has commanded us to kill those who leave Islam."
These two examples clearly show how hate speeches and those who preach them are seen as enemies of peace wherever they find themselves. In fact, a hate speech can wipe out millions of people within a twinkling of an eye bringing a whole country down on its knees. If you remember what happened in Rwanda you would better understand what I am talking about.
We were all in Ghana when out of the blue Kennedy Agyapong, Member of Parliament for Assin North, mounted the ‘pulpit’ at Oman FM, which he owes, and almost torn the country apart by attempting to pitch the Asantes against the Gas and Ewes in the country. Agyapong, who seemed to be possessed by some 1,000 gods descended heavily on Ewes and Gas by urging Asantes to slaughter them, whilst warning the security agents of the country to stay away.
By the way since the case is in court I will not comment on it for now. Hey, I am sorry, I almost forgot that I am not Nana Akufo-Addo so I will continue to soldier on by commenting on the case. The hate speech spewed by Agyapong was not taken kindly by many peace-loving Ghanaians, hence the condemnation heaped on him. But the NPP sorority where Agyapong belongs saw it otherwise, so when Agyapong was detained by the police for questioning and eventually sent to court on treason charges, they sought to make a hero out of him by powdering, carrying and parading him around.
The National Communications Authority (NCA), the organization solely charged by the Electronic Communications (EC) Act, 2008, Act 755, to ensure that companies that have acquired frequencies to operate radio and television stations do not breach any of the provisions and conditions under which the licenses were granted, has written to the management of Oman FM to explain why they should not be sanctioned for allowing Agyapong to spew that hate speech which could have turned the country upside down.
But before the management of Oman FM even responded to the letter, some NPP leased newspapers have started reading meanings into the letter by stating that the government is out to close down Oman FM station. I would not buy this nonsense. It’s far from that!
Here was a radio station that was used to promote hate speech which could have led to war in this country. And no right thinking person born of a woman should say that because the hate speech promoted by Agyapong did not lead to any chaotic situations, we should gross over it and simply let sleeping dogs lie. Are we to remain mute until something dreadful happens before we tie the loose knots? Are we to do nothing until some lunatics from one tribe turn on another tribe? I guess we have to do the proper thing. You keep mute over these issues at your peril.
Therefore, what the NCA has done should be commended by all peace loving Ghanaians. The NCA has not stated it is going to close down Oman FM station. If they intend to do that, I guess the station would have been closed down days after the hate speech was disgorged from the station by Agyapong.
The political atmosphere in the country is already much tensed and so much charged with some apparatchiks from one party saying that if they are not declared winners of the December 7 elections, Ghana would turn into Afghanistan. How can you tell a referee of a football match which is yet to be played to declare you the winner when you are yet to kick the ball? Ladies and gentlemen, this is the charged atmosphere we find ourselves today. We are a country full of family members, friends, school mates, wives, husbands, business associates and a network of friends who cut across the spectrum of all ethnic and tribal societies of the country.
It is therefore, proper for the NCA to point out to Ghanaians especially members of the political parties that it is unacceptable for them to promote hate speeches. And with the NCA sending a missive to the management of Oman FM, it clearly demonstrates that the NCA which has the power to revoke any license or sanction any radio or television station that goes contrarily to Act 755, would not sit down for some individuals to promote hate speeches which could plunge our beloved country into full scale war.
The 2012 election is six months away. I believe every necessary thing must be done so that nobody provokes anybody to any unnecessary war. We Ghanaians do not need that. We are far and above any pettiness that can catch fire and burn innocent citizens in the country. Therefore, the epistle by the NCA to Oman FM is in the right direction. The management of Oman FM should explain why they should not be sanctioned or at best they should give an undertaking to Ghanaians that going forward they would not allow anybody to use its station to promote hate speeches. Peace is all what we need. Nothing less and nothing more!