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Religious discrimination, a canker we must fight together.

Mon, 8 Sep 2014 Source: Dzitse, Prosper

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Since the defacto of democratization of our dear country and continent, there have been pockets of concerns in relation to how others are treated due to religious differences. This many a time bring great misunderstanding among groups of people which sometimes lead to conflicts.

This issue is of great concern to me because I had to deal with some of these issues seriously when I was the Regional SRC President of Greater Accra few years ago. I remember how I had to be at the door steps of the then acting Director General of Ghana Education Service about this same issue and make sure she writes to heads of institutions telling them to desist from such acts, and just when I thought that should be a thing of the past, a colleague complained bitterly about how some Moslem students were being forced to worship the way they don't believe they should, some were being denied their freedom of worship.

I still can't fathom why in this 21st century people will be denied holding positions or denied other opportunities being it at the work place, school or community in this liberal society, simply because of the faith they profess. I have always believed that religious education in whichever level is meant to assist students adopt sound morals and values and not to make one religious body superior over the other. That is one of the reasons why Ghana Education Service critically looks at the kind of syllabus that students are taught in relation to religious education especially at basic and secondary school levels. That is why the CHAPTER 005, Article 12, clauses (1) and (2) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana seriously speak against any form of discrimination without recourse to the law. It simply means that religious discrimination is an offence and anyone found culpable can be prosecuted under the law. It is due to religious tolerance that during most public functions, different religious prayers are said. It is also due to this, we have different religious public holidays in this country.

I am a Christian and I am proud to be one, My pride stems from the fact that no one forces me to worship God in a way that I am not pleased with. I believe every human is equal and should be allowed to worship God the way they want.

If Christians have a Church building where they worship God in a particular school, nothing stops Moslems from having Mosque in order to also worship God. I have a lot of Moslem friends who are very peace loving, I see no reason why any bad act should be attributed to an individual or a group of people simply because of their religious belief. While we must admit that there are some Moslems who are violent, we cannot also deny the fact that there are some Christians who are equally violent and any form of violence must always be condemned in its uncertain terms regardless of the person's religious background.

Moving on, I believe that educational institutions should be opened to all members of the public, regardless of their faith. Students should not face discrimination or harassment because of their faith, their beliefs, their distinctive religious dress, or their religious expressions.

We must therefore vigorously promote religious tolerance to safeguard national peace and stability.

In conclusion, I am therefore calling on the Ghana Bar Association, the Christian Council of Ghana, Ghana Peace Council, the Media, all Civil Society Organizations, the Parliament of Ghana, all Ministries concerned, Ghana Education Service & all Ghanaians to help stem out this form of religious fanaticism and unacceptable behavior from our institutions.

I promise to do my part, come onboard and let's fight this together, for YOU ARE BECAUSE I AM, AND I AM BECAUSE YOU ARE, UBUNTU.

The writer is the CEO of the Institute of Mentorship and Leadership Training (IMLT), Ghana.

He speaks for the voiceless using his pen and intellect, he is also an Aspiring 2014 National Union of Ghana students (NUGS) President.

Columnist: Dzitse, Prosper