The National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, has called on the Electoral Commission (EC) and other stakeholders involved in this year’s general election to work towards violent-free and transparent elections.
Moreover, he said political stakeholders should avoid tendencies that could jeopardise the political peace, harmony and stability the country had enjoyed over the years and continued to enjoy.
“This year is an election year associated with so many challenges, including the COVID-19 crisis. As a faith community committed to lasting peace and harmony, we are calling on all stakeholders, particularly the Electoral Commission, to ensure a violent-free, free and fair, and transparent elections,” he said yesterday in an address read on his behalf by his spokesperson, Sheikh Aremeyaw Shaibu, at the virtual broadcast of this year’s Eid-ul-Fitr.
The event was held in the studios of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) in Accra amid measures taken to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
It was attended by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, and his wife Samira; the Minister of Inner Cities and Zongo Development, Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, and a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Issifu Omoro Tanko Amadu, among other personalities.
The event, which was made possible by courtesy of the GBC, was broadcast on the 16 regional FM stations of the GBC, as well as on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.
Sheikh Sharubutu gave thanks and praise to Allah for His mercies, blessings, grace and favour done to the Muslim faithful with the one-month period of undertaking the spiritual exercise of fasting during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Your Excellency, while welcoming you to this auspicious occasion, we also would like to express our profound thanks and appreciation for your desire and interest to join us to celebrate this great event in a form never witnessed before in the annals of our history as a faith community. We are grateful to you,” he told the President.
Times not normal
The National Chief Imam said the virtual Eid celebration was held because everybody was not living in normal times, adding that the restrictions on the COVID-19 had disallowed the faithful to congregate in open spaces, as was the case in the past, to say their prayers.
To fill that gap, he indicated that the virtual event had to be held in order to reach Muslims everywhere to enable them to listen to the Chief Imam’s sermon, a key aspect of the celebration of the Eid-ul-Fitr.
Alluding to the importance of fasting during Ramadan, the islamic cleric said: “We have been told that you must fast in the month of Ramadan so that you must attain God’s consciousness of piety.
“Therefore, it gives us an opportunity for a certain kind of evaluation of ourselves and to see whether we have been able to make that attainment.”
Sheikh Sharubutu said the COVID-19 Ramadan season had provided the Muslim faithful a unique opportunity to appreciate that they could worship their Maker in private so that they could experience a personal connection with him.
Consequently, he said Muslims had learnt to focus on the substance and essence of their worship rather than the form, adding that “we are, therefore, confident that in spite of the COVID-19 restrictions on social gatherings, the quality of our fasting this month has not diminished. We have maintained the quality”.
He added: “We remember that, with the onset of the COVID-19, you [President] had to visit our homes at periodic times to give us updates with respect to our current COVID-19 status, following which you had to announce some of the directives. We are happy to reiterate that Ghanaian Muslims behaved responsibly and accepted those restrictions. Even as I speak, they still comply with the restrictions, one of the reasons for which Muslims in this country are not meeting in any open space to say their prayers”.
He commended Muslims across the country for showing that level of responsibility in adhering to the restrictions and also thanked all those who supported him to raise GH¢130,000 to support the National COVID-19 Trust Fund.
Sheikh Sharubutu noted that the President’s periodic broadcast on the COVID-19 situation in the country had been full of hope, and encouraged him to forge ahead with any measures necessary to curb further spread of the virus.
The Chief Imam commended the President for the elevation of Justice Amadu Tanko to the Supreme Court.
“Though we believe you based his nomination and appointment on merit, we as Muslims are greatly honoured and indebted to you for the appointment of Justice Issifu Omoro Tanko Amadu.The appointment would indeed serve as an inspiration to make upcoming young Muslim lawyers to aspire to greater heights,” he said.
Sheikh Sharubutu suggested that in the event of the lifting of the COVID-19 restrictions, worship places and educational facilities of Muslims would undergo a comprehensive programme of disinfection so that it would help contain the spread of COVID-19.
A matter of concern to him, his leaders and the larger Muslim community, he said, was the harmonisation of the Muslim Marriage Law and Inheritance.
“We are aware that there is an ongoing discussion about the harmonisation of the Muslim Marriage Law and Inheritance at the Ministry of Justice. We want to use this occasion to draw your attention to this and to do us the help and the support that would lead to the final conclusion of this discussion. This, we think, would make the Muslim community in Ghana very happy,” he appealed to the President.