Ghana: Religious tension mounts over drinking spot cited near mosque

By Ohemeng Tawiah, Nhyira Fm,-Kumasi, Ghana – Tension is mounting between Muslim and Christian communities at Nobewam, a town located on the main Accra-Kumasi road in the Ejisu-Juaben Municipal of Ashanti region over the citing of a mosque in the town.

The natives, mainly Christians are challenging the local traditional ruler’s decision to allocate a parcel of land to Muslims when Christians form majority of residents.

One of the protestors has, in defiance of the traditional authority’s order, begun building a drinking bar on part of the land meant for the mosque, already under construction.

The leadership of the Christian Community are said to have kicked against the allocation of the building plot for the mosque project.

This compelled the traditional authority to charge the Muslims three times the original allocation fee for the land.

Some Muslim youth have vowed to use all means to stop the construction of the drinking spot which they say is meant to slight Islam.

Spokesman, Alhaji Faisal Ibrahim, says persistent appeal to the chief and police to resolve the matter have yielded no results.

He says everything should be done to avert any nasty situation.

Alhaji Ibrahim warned of dire consequences if concerns of the Muslim youth are not addressed.

‘‘You know an alcoholic drink in Islamic is a taboo to us, we don’t like it, we don’t drink alcohol. If somebody bring the drinking bar near a mosque, we feel ashamed and we feel hurt because we don’t practice it and we don’t want to practice it too.’’

He warned mayhem would be visited on the town should their concerns left unattended to.

‘‘Even where he has built the drinking bar, he has taken part of our land to build this thing. We don’t want it to happen because when it happens, definitely there would be disaster’’, he warned.

He said the youth should not be blamed for any action to reclaim what belongs to them and defend Islam.

‘‘We don’t want a situation whereby people will brand those of us from Zongo communities arrogant and lawless’’.

Enquires reveal some churches had pressed interest in the land.

The leadership of the Local Council of Churches, however, declined comment on the issue.

Chief of Nobewam, Nana Adu Gyamfi, is afraid any unlawful reaction from the Muslim youth could have dire consequences on peace in the town.

He appeals for calm as he takes steps to address concerns of the Muslims, while promising to supervise the demolishing of the drinking bar to ensure peace.