One needs to understand the Islamic perspective of fasting, to share in the frustrations of the Islamic faith. Fasting remains is one of the pillars of the Islamic faith. Unlike Christians where it is voluntary, Muslims go through it because it is and cannot be compromised for anything. The belief is that not fasting during the period of Ramadan for mere reasons of school rules makes one an incomplete Muslim.
However, Counsellor Kojo has questions that need answers and shares his candid, thought-provoking opinion.
Wesley Girls SHS. What are the issues?
1. In April 2021, a Muslim father storms Wesley Girls SHS premises threatening to withdraw his beautiful Muslim girl child, Bushira, from the school because he thinks the child must be allowed to fast in fulfillment of her “mandatory” Ramadan.
2. Wesley Girls SHS insists that NOBODY undertakes fasting in the school, whether for religious purposes or not. To them, whether the person is a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Occult, Rastafarian or Traditionist, NO student is allowed to fast. And, students from across all manner of religious backgrounds (Christians, Muslims, Occultic students, etc ) have all passed through the school (in past years) complying with this long-standing practice.
3. The school authorities call the Muslim father and talk to him. They explain to him the reasons for not allowing ANY student (cutting across all religions) to fast. Later, the father or some media houses or some uncritical “literates” (I’m not too sure the exact source) start spreading headlines likes “Wesley Girls SHS doesn’t allow Muslims to fast”, “Wesley Girls SHS resist Muslims from fasting”, “Wesley Girls SHS practises Religious Discrimination”, “Methodist Church imposes their religion on all students”, and many other religiously sensational headlines across.
4. Most Muslims have justifiably become angry at Wesley Girls. Indeed, the headlines and the messages spread across are sensational enough to get any genuine Muslim angry at the school. It’s as though their right to religion has been infringed upon. But, is that the case?
5. Are Muslim students forced to attend Sunday church service on campus? NO. Are Muslims allowed to fast on campus? NO. Are Christians allowed to fast on campus? NO. Were Methodist students allowed to fast during Lent? NO. Were Muslim students allowed to fast during Ramadan? NO. Are Muslims allowed to pray on campus? YES. Are Muslims allowed to read their Quran on campus? YES.
6. With the above context, how then can any right-thinking person describe such a school environment as religiously “discriminatory”? How does “students should not fast on campus” become interpreted as “Muslims should not fast on campus”? I blame this on lazy journalism, lovers of disunity, religious fanatics, half baked literates, people who forward anything they see and people who comment on anything they see sometimes even without reading or understanding.
7. I support any campaign or call for the introduction of “fasting” on the Wesley Girls’ campus. Just as Muslims would love their daughters to fast on campus, I too, Counsellor Kojo, a Christian, would also love my Christian daughters to be allowed to fast too. Such a religious call must be sounded in unity. For now, the call seems to be for the introduction of an ONLY “Muslim fasting” (obviously due to how the news has been reported in the media). This call sounds more religiously one-sided than the current existing practice.