Stop Complaining, Ghanaian Muslims!

Mon, 30 Mar 2009 Source: Pryce, Daniel K.

A www.ghanaweb.com feature article of Tuesday, March 24, 2009, titled “Mills Fools Muslims,” stoked in me cinders of indignation and trepidation, even as I wondered what chthonic and infernal forces were prodding Abdul Samiu Nuamah, the progenitor of the revolting article, at the time that he sat down in front of his personal computer to berate and assault the intelligence and broadmindedness of a peaceable Ghanaian population. That Abdul Samiu Nuamah, as a result of his invoking the excuse that large numbers of Muslims had voted for John Atta Mills in Election 2008, would turn himself into a conduit, or regurgitant, for riling his fellow citizens with unabashed balderdash and incendiary declarations is truly unfortunate.

That Abdul Samiu Nuamah is interested in fomenting trouble – along religious lines – in our dear nation is evident in his choice of words, but I wish to convey to the writer that there never shall be mayhem in Ghana, for the good people of Ghana would never replicate the hegemonic – ethnic, religious or otherwise – inclinations of their neighbors whose countries are yet to recover from the ruins of dissension and tragedy. If Ghanaians have been awakened to one thing, it is that they have only one country to call home, and they are, as such, very alert to perorations and writings that tend to be divisive, incendiary and provocative. Without a doubt, the fact that Ghanaian Muslims are not pariahs, or personae non gratae, in their own nation is partly due to the equanimity and magnanimity of their Christian counterparts, who, otherwise, could have used their majority status to effect many changes, albeit parochially, to the laws of the land.

Now to the crux of Mr. Nuamah’s article: Why would President John Atta Mills’ appeal to Ghanaians to submit to Almighty God be misconstrued, in Mr. Nuamah’s mind, as a divisive religious statement, pitting Christians against Muslims? The only thing that the president meant by his statement was that Ghanaians need be a prayerful lot, even as they go about their daily lives and duties. Does the cognizance of God’s munificence and sovereignty in our lives – more so for those who are very religious – mean that we should no longer work? The president never indicated that people should quit their jobs or abandon their livelihoods, so for some disgruntled people to impugn the president’s character by attributing false interpretations to his otherwise sagacious edict is palpably malicious and must be categorically denounced.

As an indication of the president’s avowal of pluralism, an article attributed to the Times and reproduced March 13, 2009 on www.ghanaweb.com pointed out the following: “President Mills, who had since assumption of office been receiving the leadership of various Christian and Islamic groups at the Castle, recently proposed an annual national prayer and thanksgiving day by Muslims on every last Friday in January and first Sunday in February for Christians.” Need any more proof of the president’s religious neutrality as far as the affairs of state are concerned, Abdul Nuamah?

Yes, Ghana is a secular state and the present leader of the nation has not violated this sacrosanct tenet enshrined in Ghana’s Constitution. But to confuse the president’s personal faith (every person in Ghana knows that John Atta Mills is a Christian) with a purported declaration of Christianity as the state religion of Ghana, simply because the nation’s leader had called on Ghanaians with differing religious backgrounds to be more prayerful, is truly disingenuous. Past leaders of the nation, while in office, had always visited mosques and churches, a symbolism of our pluralism and peaceableness. Did Mr. Nuamah not read on www.ghanaweb.com and other pro-Ghanaian news conduits that the current president recently visited the Chief Imam of Ghanaian Muslims as a mark of respect to the nation’s Muslim population?

There are just as many Muslims in John Atta Mills’ administration as there are Christians, so Mr. Nuamah should stop stoking the embers of ecclesiastical and sectional fanaticism, as the nation’s leaders simply have too many socio-economic problems to confront presently, leaving little room for the diversionary tactics, mordant accusations and nauseating frivolities emanating from Mr. Nuamah and his ilk. For as long as Ghana has existed, Muslims and Christians have generally co-existed peacefully and will continue to do so. Although Christians make up about 70% of the Ghanaian population and Muslims about 15%, Ghanaian Christians have always treated their Muslim brothers and sisters with respect and decorum, which is the way it ought to be.

I hope Mr. Nuamah is aware of the fact that the same cannot be said of Muslim-majority nation-states like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, Oman, Yemen, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Morocco, poverty-ravaged Mauritania, just to name a few. In the preceding countries, Christianity is either utterly proscribed or monitored to a degree that is both insulting and antithetical to the wellbeing of its practitioners. Despite the fact that some of the aforesaid nations have Constitutions that, in effect, make them secular, Muslim extremists have made it their sacred duty to harass, maim and kill those who practice differing beliefs, with the tacit approval of those vested with the authority to protect all citizens. Double standards, certainly! Perhaps, Mr. Nuamah’s time and effort will be better served if he courageously wrote to the leaders of these Muslim-majority nations to respect the religious views of the non-Muslim citizens and residents in their midst!

I believe that Ghanaian Muslims ought to truly appreciate the fact that the nation’s Christian majority will never resort to persecution to force the former to conform to the latter’s religious proclivities. Mr. Nuamah and his fellow Muslims have a peaceful atmosphere in Ghana to practice their faith, and no one will hinder them from ever doing so. If Mr. Nuamah desperately wants a Muslim to become president, then he and his cohorts should begin promoting a Muslim for such a purpose. In fact, had Aliu Mahama been chosen as the New Patriotic Party’s nominee for president and had he subsequently won Election 2008, no one would be complaining now if he received mullahs and imams at the seat of government. At least, our capacity to be tolerant of the religious views of one another is what has made Ghana great and strong. We need to keep it that way!

Written and submitted March 25, 2009.

The writer, Daniel K. Pryce, holds a master’s degree in public administration from George Mason University, U.S.A. He is a member of the national honor society for public affairs and administration in the U.S.A. He can be reached at dpryce@cox.net.

Columnist: Pryce, Daniel K.