NEWS COMMENTARY CALLS FOR PEACE AMONG MUSLIMS IN HO FOLLOWING THE RECENT CONFLICT.
Ho the Volta regional capital has been noted as a peaceful Metropolis. However, due to recent conflicts between two factions over who to lead Muslims in prayers following the death of the Imam of the main mosque, Ho seems to be gaining a bad name. Following the death of the substantive Chief Imam, Umoru Danjimah Hamzah, a faction of the congregants of the mosque Alhaji Muniru Ali, a maternal uncle of the deceased Imam as the new Chief Imam while Alhaji Anas Alfa the substantive deputy to the former Chief Imam was also subsequently installed by another faction as Imam of the same mosque. This resulted in a serious conflict leading to the closure of the mosque by the police on the orders of the Volta Regional Security Council.
However, for unknown reasons, the mosque was opened again for prayers to be led by one of the rival Imams. This led to another misunderstanding culminating in a near physical clash between the two factions that was averted with the timely intervention of the police. It is now clear the Regional Security Council has closed the mosque again and is looking into the matter together with the National Peace Council and the Muslim leadership.
The umbrella body of Muslims in Ghana, the Federation of Muslim Council (FMC) led by Alhaji Showumi Williams has expressed satisfaction with the interventions by the police, the Volta Regional Security Council, and the National Peace Council. In a Press Release signed by its General Secretary, the Federation also reposed trust in the combined efforts of the three entities in bringing normalcy to the mosque in particular and among Muslims in Ho generally. The FMC, therefore, urges the two rival imams and their respective factions to commit themselves to the peace process to reach an amicable settlement and restore calm in the mosque and the Ho metropolis.
This is not the first time a conflict of this nature has occurred between Muslim factions over leadership. In almost all these conflicts the Muslim leaders have moved swiftly to find solutions to the problems. To arrive at a lasting solution to the impasse between the two factions in Ho, the workable formula used in the past must be revisited. The Muslim leadership in Ghana must organise a round table of the two factions involved together with the Regional Security Council and National Peace Council to get them to form one united Imams body together with their Islamic scholars known as Ulemas.
The two contending Imams should be made to be in the leadership circle to be allowed to lead prayers in the mosque on rotational basis as was done in some mosques in Ghana and worldwide, especially in Saudi Arabia. They are aware they were brought up into Islamic leadership to serve God and to lead their followers towards peace and tranquillity. The word Islam means peace and submission to the will of Allah. For this reason, Muslims greet each other by saying ‘Salaam alaykum’ meaning ‘peace be upon you’. Like the majority of followers of other faiths, Muslims believe in seeking a just and peaceful world. Ghana Muslims have proved to be peace-loving people. The Qur’an teaches that Allah wants Muslims to control their aggression and approach others with peace.
For this reason, it is our prayer that the two groups of Muslims fighting for leadership would submit to peace as directed by the Almighty Allah. They must work together to bring lasting peace not only in Ho but Ghana as a whole.
By: Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai, A Journalist.