Islamic Scholars in Ashanti region are boiling with rage against authorities of Ghana Hajj Board following the latter’s failure to set in motion measures that will affect the direct airlifting of Muslim pilgrims in the region directly from Kumasi to Mecca.
They are deeply embittered over why authorities have until now proved insensitive to the stress (travelling all the way from Ashanti region to Accra or Tamale) they (Ashanti Muslims) go through before securing a flight to visit the sacred city (Saudi Arabia) of Mecca to partake in the yearly hajj.
They hold a strong defence that Muslims in Ashanti region who partake in the annual Islamic pilgrimage far outnumber that of the remaining regions in Ghana.
This they underlined should have been a wakeup call for the Hajj Board to enter a dialogue with the ministry of foreign affairs on the need to resource Kumasi Airport for the direct airlifting of pilgrims in the region.
A renowned scholar called Sheikh Mohammed Ridwan Mohammed who is the Imam for Hausa Community of Old Tafo and the Chief Imam for Atwima Koforidua Central Mosque rubbished as baseless reasons given by government that the Kumasi Airport is not yet up to standard to carry out their demand except that of Accra and Temale.
“I have personally witnessed the safe arrival and departure of international flights at the Kumasi airport so where from this fallacious claim that the airport is not equipped to convey Muslims directly from Ashanti region to Mecca?” he challenged.
“So, are they telling us that they can’t resource Kumasi airport with a flight that can pick us straight to mecca?”
HAJJ BOARD CHAIRMAN
Speaking to this newspaper with a clenched fist, Sheikh Mohammed Ridwan fingered the Hajj Board Chairman Sheikh I.C Quaye as a great disappointment to Muslims in the region over his failure to carry out a promise made to them (Muslims in Ashanti region) in connection with the challenge in question.
He exposed that the chairman of the Hajj Board in the early part of the year 2017 (few months after NPP assumed governance) met some Muslims leaders of Kumasi and promised to address the situation.
He continued that until now, nothing positive whatsoever has been heard from the chairman
let alone from government regarding the promise made.
Dr Sheikh Amin Bonsu
Sheikh Mohammed Ridwan again challenged Dr Sheikh Amin Bonsu who plays the role as a board member, welfare and an Ashanti regional representative on the Board to publicly explain to them ( Muslims in Ashanti region) why he has hitherto not been able to do anything about the matter, adding that ” if he can’t fight for the welfare of Muslims in the region, he should step down for another person to take over.”
Sheikh Ridwan claimed that he has been playing an Advocacy’s role for close to two years now, but all calls made by him so far have been brushed under carpet by authorities.
Sheikh Mohammed Ridwan disclosed to this paper that he is working out plans with other Muslim scholars and Chief Imams in the region to petition the King of Ashanti Kingdom Otumfuo Osei Tutu II if authorities still prove adamant to their concerns.
“We are giving them up to the start of the year 2019. If we don’t see anything positive, we will advise ourselves”, he noted.