The Government has condemned the act of preventing Muslim women and girls from freely wearing their hijabs at work places and in school.
It follows reports that Muslim women and girls are being forced to take off their hijabs – a traditional scarf worn by Muslim women to cover their hair and neck and sometimes their face – at work and in schools.
A statement signed by Communications Minister Dr Edward Omane Boamah said: “We consider it not only as religious intolerance, but also a breach of the 1992 Constitution of the republic of Ghana, for Muslim students to be forced to take off their hijabs in schools.
“In much the same way, it is unacceptable for Muslim students to be forced to attend church services in schools, especially when it seeks to introduce those students to a religion, which they may not subscribe to, nor be adherents of”.
The Muslim Community in the Western Region Friday took to the streets of Sekondi Takoradi Metropolis to protest what they call human rights abuses of Muslim students in the country.
The demonstrators numbering over 300 were given strict police protection throughout the process.
The Muslims called on schools in the country not to infringe on the rights of Muslims by forcing them to attend Sunday church activities.
Secondary school girls were seen with placards with inscriptions such as “Hijab my pride,” “Respect our rights,” “Respect Ghana’s constitution freedom of worship” among others.
The statement noted further that it is government’s position that Muslim women must be allowed, and not forced to take off their hijabs at work, to the extent that their wearing them do not pose a danger to themselves or to others on the job.
It added: “We wish to point out, Dr. Omane Boamah said, that under article 21(1)(c) of the 1992 Constitution of the republic of Ghana, ‘all persons shall have the right to freedom to practice any religion and to manifest such practice”.
“Given that the constitution guarantees, as part of the fundamental freedoms, the freedom of any religion and to manifest such practice”, it would be wrong to force any individual to abandon her/ his faith.
“It is equally wrong to force Muslim women and girls to disrobe or take off their hijabs at their places of work or schools.
The statement warned that heads of any institution, including schools and work places, found to be contravening this basic constitutional right would be liable to sanctions.