Zongo Chiefs in Koforidua, the Eastern Regional Capital have appealed to former President John Mahama to purchase a hearse for the Muslim Community in the area to enable them strictly observe the sacredness a Muslim body deserves before burial.
Islamic tradition has strict guidelines on how corpses should be prepared for burial and final resting place.
These include handling a Muslim body at the hospital morgue. Islam prescribes that close members of the family who are of the same gender take the responsibility of performing the Ghusl (washing) and Kafan (shrouding the body). In the case of a spouse, it is permissible for the spouse to perform the Ghusl.
But according to Fulani Chief in Koforidua, Nurudeen Abubakar Sal who spoke on behalf of the Zongo Chiefs, these sacred processes are mostly violated due to lack of facilities and logistics solely dedicated for Muslim bodies.
He believes the provision of the Hearse will be a great service for the Muslim communities to help observe burial processes as specified in Islam.
“We all thank former President because he is a part of the people who ensured the peace we are enjoying in the country. We will not talk plenty because it is after his victory that we will table more of our problems to him. But we will plead with him to do this one thing for us. We have been pleading for this for a long time. We need a hearse to convey our corpses for us. So Mr. former president purchase this from your personal account for us. Even if you can help us financially to add up to purchase we will be grateful”, Nurudeen Abubakar Sal said this when the 2020 Presidential candidate of the opposition NDC John Dramani Mahama addressed a gathering at Koforidua Zongo on Tuesday, October 12, 2021.
A 2020 manifesto promise by the NDC to facilitate the establishment of a makeshift mortuary in accordance with Islamic custom and practices and collaborate with the Ministry of Health to set up focal teams responsible for procedures that are compliant with Islamic custom and practice at all public mortuaries for a dignifying burial of Muslims, received a backlash particularly from members of the ruling New Patriotic Party.
However, Mr. John Mahama justified that “recently, some people were making a mockery that we said One Zongo One Mortuary. What they don’t know is that the Imams in Zongos tabled it before us that they were not happy about how the bodies of Muslims are handled before burial because it violates the dictates of the Islamic religion. Sometimes, you see a Muslim woman in a morgue lying naked in between other corpses. They said they need morgues in Zongos to enable them to prepare their bodies in a dignified manner for burial. We saw it as laudable therefore fixed it in our manifesto”
Mr. Mahama added “so I’m surprised that our Brother [Bawumia] who is a Muslim and knows the importance of this facility to Muslims is rather making a mockery of it saying ‘one Zongo one Mortuary’. This is not fun. Every religion has its faith and how it is practiced. So if the Muslims feel that they need it, it is only important that we support them. It is not a matter that people should make fun of.”
Mallam Tijani Malco, the Zongo Caucus Coordinator for the NDC in New Juaben South Constituency told Kasapa News after the durbar that, in promoting religious cohesion in this country, the beliefs of every religion should be considered in designing systems for the country.
He said the handling of Muslim bodies in hospitals continues to create seething displeasure among Muslim communities which deserve a policy intervention.
He supported calls by the Zongo Chiefs for a hearse to be provided for the Muslim community in Koforidua to help sacredly handle Muslim bodies before burial.