President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged the faiths not to turn schools into places to fight ideological and religious battles, calling for tolerance and inter-religious coexistence to preserve peace and social cohesion in the country.
He made the call when he joined Muslim faithful at the forecourts of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation in Accra, to mark this year’s celebration of the Eid-ul Fitr, the religious holiday celebrated worldwide to observe the end of the month-long fasting of Ramadan.
President Akufo-Addo, who was addressing the current impasse between the Muslims community and the Methodist Church in Ghana concerning the refusal of school authorities of Wesley Girls’ High School to allow a Muslim student fast during the month of Ramadan, said the a satisfactory solution is being found to address the matter.
However, he pointed out that boarding schools have traditionally served as training grounds in learning about religious tolerance, and losing the fear of the unknown.
“That is where young Ghanaians learn to eat each other’s food. That is where they learned the songs and dances of the different parts of the country. That is where they learn about each other’s religions. And that is where lifelong friendships are formed.
“These schools must necessarily have rules and regulations that enable them to function…throughout the years, the schools by a large, managed to find a reasonable balanced atmosphere to enable our young people to flourish and this has served us well.
The President further pointed out that the schools had evolved and adapted their practices to suit the times, saying, “I will urge that we do not turn them into the places to fight ideological and religious battles.
“Young people deserve a peaceful atmosphere to be able to deal with the many challenges of studying and acquiring knowledge, and parents certainly must have a keen interest in the schools into whose care they entrust their children. May I plead with all of us that we keep the tolerance that has served us so, well in matters of religion,” He stressed.
President Akufo-Addo said though the Constitution guaranteed freedom of worship for all citizens, religious tolerance in Ghana, which had been the envy of many nations, did not emerge from formal law, but from the Ghanaians’ respect for each other’s belief systems.
He said the beautiful spectacle of the religious communities co-exiting peacefully in the country should not be taken for granted, and urged citizens to strive to maintain the envious culture of religious tolerance to foster unity, progress and development of the nation.
The President gave the assurance that his government would build an all-inclusive sociality that creates opportunity Ghanaians, irrespective of their circumstances, adding that the aggressive policy development of the development of Inner cities and Zongo communities would be pursued to the letter.
“And we shall not relent until we even the development equation between Zongo communities and other communities of our country,” he stated.