Muslim groups, the Northerners and Zongos Concerned Youth Association Ghana and Ghana Muslim Broadcast Journalists Association are demanding the removal of the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng from his position for his call on Muslim leaders to consider the use of text messages to call to prayer.
Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng on April 10 proposed the use of mobile applications like text messages and Whatsapp in calling Muslims to prayer.
He observed places of worship in the country had become places of noisemaking and questioned why worshipers are unable to contain the noise they make within their auditorium or premises.
“In the house of worship, why is it that the noise will (not) be limited to the house of worship…and again maybe from the mosque, why is it that time for prayer would not be transmitted with a text message or WhatsApp so the Imam will send WhatsApp message to everybody that the time for prayer is up, so appear,” he said at a news conference.
According to the group, the utterances of the Minister has not been palatable thereby causing unnecessary tension in the country hence the demand for his removal.
The National Coordinator of the group and a veteran Hausa Broadcaster, Alhaji Haiidu Abubakar Galaxy in an interview with this reporter stated that the call by the Minister on Imams and Muslim leaders to consider using text messages in inviting Muslims to prayers instead of the traditional megaphones is very wrong and a loose talk.
He said the minister should have also considered consulting the Muslims within government before coming out with such barbaric statement, adding that there are Islamic Scholars like Sheikh I.C Qauye, Sheikh T.B Damba and among others in government who could have been consulted.
Alhaji Galaxy stated that Islam isn’t like other religious bodies where one registers with his or her contact details before attending a church but rather an open religion which permits everyone to pray in any mosque hence the use of text messages will never work for Muslims.
This he said, most of the Imams and the leaders have no knowledge about text or Whatsapp messages adding that Azan or call to prayer is a Quranic injunction which cannot be changed or whatsoever.
He advised public officers especially Ministers of States to be very careful with what they say especially when it comes to religious issues which have to deal with other people’s believes.
In other development, the office of the National Chief Imam has rejected suggestions to Muslims in the country to adopt the modern ways of calling their members to prayers as against the old conservative way of using megaphones.
Muhammed Faisal Mustapha