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Accra, July 1, GNA – The Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission in Ghana has raised concerns about the questionnaire of the ongoing Housing and Population Census (PHC) had categorised Ahmadi Muslims as though they were not part of the generality of Muslims.
It said the unfortunate move by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) succeeded in sending a negative signal which created a certain level of anxiety among Muslims.
Alhaji Ahmad Suleman Anderson, Deputy Ameer III, addressed the media at a press conference on behalf of Alhaji Mohammed Bin Salih, Ameer and Missionary-in-Charge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission in Ghana in Accra.
He said as a peaceful religious Organization, they took steps by engaging the GSS behind the scenes to have the matter resolved in a manner that would foster unity and create a peaceful atmosphere.
Alhaji Salih said the GSS agreed it was going to remedy the wrong categorization of Muslims and instruct its enumerators, who were then under training to cancel out the option ‘Ahmadi’ while it took steps to correct it on the stands for Computer-Assisted Personal Interview Software.
He, however, said the information they gathered indicated that the GSS had not done what was promised as a result the matter gained currency and rather assumed a very frustrating proportion, thereby creating confusion and misunderstanding among Muslims.
Alhaji Salih said to calm nerves down and curtail any unforeseen agitation among Muslims, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community issued a press statement to disassociate itself from what they now believe was a deliberate attempt by the GSS to create confusion among Muslims.
He said the Mission took further steps and had a meeting with GSS at which the Service agreed to certain corrective measures and assured them that the said corrective measures would be carried out to the letter before the exercise commenced.
The Ameer said the measures, included blocking out the option ‘Islam (Ahmadi)’ from the options of religious affiliation on the census questionnaire such that it does not appear on the tablet of the enumerators.
“They agreed to educate all its enumerators not to ask Muslims what set of Islam they belong to and that all Muslims would be captured under one category,” he added.
Alhaj Salih said GSS had completely broken the confidence and breached the trust they had in them as it had blatantly refused to carry out what they undertook to do to correct the anomaly.
“They have failed to correct the anomaly on the OCAPI, and have accordingly refused to educate enumerators as agreed,” he said.
He said the information they had received from their members across the country indicated that the option ‘Muslim (Ahmadi) ‘ was still on the tablet and that the enumerators were asking Muslims to identify whether they belong to ‘Islam’ or Muslim (Ahmadi).
Alhaji Salih said the news was creating confusion among their members as they had earlier informed them that such questions would not be asked, adding that the situation was also creating uneasiness among the general Muslim populace.
He said they believed the problem would compromise the outcome of the census, as it would affect the demographic information therein.
“To redeem the credibility of the whole census exercise, we demand that the GSS takes steps to correct the anomaly without any further delay,’ he added.
Alhaji Salih said the failure to do this, they may be left with no other option than to ask their members and the generality of Muslims to be disinterested in the entire exercise.
He reminded the leadership of GSS that a very important National exercise had been entrusted to them and that the State had invested so much money in it and in exchange expected to receive credible data upon the basis all national planning would be done.
He said in the national interest the GSS should address the issue and any other similar concerns any other group would have registered.
“We will continue to urge our members and all other Muslims to register under Islam without giving details as to which sets they belong to,” Alhaji Salih.