This week, Ghana had another religious encounter with a student of a senior high school.
We are currently still waiting with bated breath for a decision of the court on what will happen to Tyrone Marhguy and Oheneba Kweku Nkrabea for refusing to cut their dreadlocks on religious grounds.
The two students had refused to cut their hair after Achimota Schooll insisted it would not grant them admission if they had dreadlocks.
While the case is in court, there is another religious issue.
Bushira Ishmael, a student of the Wesley Girls Senior High School (Wey Gey Hey) had requested to fast during Ramadan and her request had been denied.
Her parents went to the school to take her home as they viewed the denial as an infringement on her religious rights.
When the issue became a news conversation, many accused Wey Gey Hey, which has a Methodist foundation, of being discriminatory.
Initially, some thought it was because she was a Muslim and the school with a Christian background was not treating her fairly.
Since then the school has had to defend itself by indicating that the no fasting rule was not targeted at any religion in particular.
Information gathered by Kuulpeeps.com suggests that Wey Gey Hey has had this battles years ago and the school decided to ban fasting.
It is said that years ago some of the students of the all-girls school would use the excuse of fasting to skip food all the time. This was because the girls were concerned about their weight gain and were deliberately avoiding food in other not to gain weight.
The situation, apparently, became endemic to the extent that a number of the students were admitted at the hospital after not eating for long periods of time.
To this end, to prevent anyone from using the excuse of fasting to skip dining, the school placed a blanket ban on fasting.
Moving forward on this, the Ghana Education Service has directed Wey Gey Hey to allow all its Muslim students, Bushira Ishmael included, to fast.
However, “parents of any such student are also directed to write to the school indicating that they shall not be held liable for any health condition of the student as a result of the fast,” the GES statement said.
While this is a temporary measure, events of this year so far indicate that the country would need to start having honest discussions about the place of all types of religious sects in civic and governmental institutions.
Being fair to all, irrespective of how minor or major their religious group is, will be the best way forward.
We always claim to be accommodating, now is the time to show it.
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