A SHORT BUT HIGHLY MEMORABLE ENCOUNTER WITH DR BILAL PHILIPS

Written By Angelica Djanie

FB_IMG_1454863237945On the 4th of February, Muslims in Ghana welcomed the renowned Islamic scholar and preacher in the person of Dr.Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips for Islamic da’wah activities across the country. His activities started soon on the 5th of February in Accra, and the topic was “Insurgency in God’s name- Revelation or Rebellion” The following day he held a workshop for Muslim scholars and professionals on the topic “Work Worship or Worshipping While you Work”.

He then proceeded to Kumasi where he spent two days. Here he had two lectures on the topics “Spreading the Message-Who’s Responsibility?” and “Insurgency in God’s Name-Revelation or Rebellion?”after which he proceeded to Tamale and spoke about “Islamic Identify and Globalisation”

Right on his arrival in Tamale an order came that he should be stopped from carrying out any activity in Ghana as he is a threat to the country, it was said this order was arrived at based on his encounter with other countries on the claims that he preaches extremism.

Alhamdu lil Llah! Few hours later, an order came from the office of the Northern Regional Minister that he should be allowed to go on with his lectures as he is never a threat to Ghana. This was confirmed by the National Security Coordinator, Yaw Donkor, when he granted an interview to Graphic Online.

Excerpts from the Interview taken from citifmonline read “it was not sufficient enough for Ghana to deny him visa on the basis that some countries had banned him entry over unproven allegations.” Mr. Donkor said: “If the one who sponsored him comes to ask us ‘why are you refusing him visa’, what are we going to tell him? Are we going to tell him that because Czechoslovakia deported him, we don’t want him to come to Ghana or because Germany says that the man has written a book that is talking about anti-Semitism, we don’t want him to come [to Ghana]. How can you use that reason to refuse a visa to a sovereign country?” Mr. Donkor asked among other tangible analysis.

In the twinkling of an eye, the news was all over, and thus the need for a press conference arose.

In view of this the press conference was held on the 11th of February, at the headquarters of the Ahlul Sunnah Wal Jamaa in Accra. This became necessary for Dr. Bilal Philips to clear the air over this unfortunate situation.
Below is an edited version of what Dr Bilal Philips had to say:

“I thank the Ahlul Sunnah Wal Jamaa for inviting me to Ghana to propagate Islam, and for their support for the Islamic Online University. I also thank the Ghanaian press for giving me the platform for clarifications. Ghana has always been a country that I have desired to visit, being originally from Jamaica because our root is from Ghana. My love for the country made me to wear the cultural Ghanaian attire popularly known as Dashiki. And my first introduction to Islam was by a Ghanaian.

For the second time in Ghana, my first visit made me realize the potential among the Muslim youth. That’s why I appointed a representative for the Islamic Online University in the country to help make it easier among the youth in acquiring Islamic knowledge, because I realized that 80% of students in the Universities are non Muslims.
And this is a reality indicating a major failure to the Muslim communities in Ghana, and for that reason Muslims need to wake up! My visit to Ghana is for this purpose; educational goals, and my activities here in the country are focused on this goal.

So when the incidence happened in Tamale, it was surprising and disappointing to me. Me being linked to terrorism is a result of America’s displeasure to those defending and uplifting Islam. The terrorist groups destabilising countries are all of political factors. I’m not a politician, I’m an educationist, and I have no hidden agenda, but to promote Islamic knowledge among the youth. Anyone can visit the website of the Islamic Online University to find out our activities.

As Muslims, our voice need to be heard but not through violence means. The result of such means has turned to chaos and has never achieved any change. Therefore we must voice out our say through knowledge.
I state categorically that i am not a threat to Ghana”

Meanwhile Dr Bilal Philips has left the shores of Ghana, however memories of our encounter will forever linger ion the minds of thousands of Ghanaian Muslims who had the opportunity of listening to him in accra, Kumasi and tamale.
We believe that the thought provoking issues he raised will be put to good use by those who heard him first hand as well as those who were given the information through the media and other means of communication.

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