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Muslims will continue to join extremist groups – CODEO official

A senior member at the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO), Sheik Armeyaw Shaibu has said Muslim youth around the globe would continue to join violent vigilantes and extremist groups until sectarian leaders reorient their followers to accept diversity and dissident dogmas.

Sheik Shaibu said it was a “disturbing trend” that a very large number of Muslim youth are always involved in cases of vigilantism and violence and blamed some Islamic scholars for imparting an orientation that emboldens and motivates the youth to be combative in behavior.

According to him, the following sectarian differences some Islamic teachers have radicalized the youth to always to be aggressive towards those who disagree with their beliefs which he added has affected the Muslim youth to be “combat ready”.

“The sectarian divisions, when it begun in this country- If you take the Tijanniya and Ahli Sunna, they have to mobilize their youth. It is the youth who fight and when they fought, they have the support of their leaders so they are combat ready. Even if it come to Islamic teachings, you can find different perspectives on particular ruling.

“We must understand that these things are part of life and when they come, we as leaders should be able to orient our youth to accept diversity but when we appear to present a perspective as the only perspective, if you are not of that perspective then we must deal with you, it creates intolerance.”

Sheik Aremeyaw, member of CODEO’s advisory board said scholars teaching only Arabic education or Islamic leaders must be given a new set of orientation to professionally understand the dynamics of youth behavior to inform ways to deal with them in order to prevent politicians exploiting the economic lives of the radicalized Muslim youth and influence them into violent groups.

He also called for opening of counselling centers in Muslims dominated communities to help the youth deal with crisis and manage anger and provocations because the mosque cannot be enough platform to mobilize the youth.

He was speaking to Starr News on the sidelines at a roundtable discussion organized by CODEO in Tamale to present a communique headlined “The Menace of Political Party Vigilantism and Ghana’s Electoral Politics”.

The election monitoring body said in the communique that it was alarmed at the impunity of which political vigilante groups spread lawlessness and called on government to neutralize it before it becomes a national threat.

CODEO said political vigilantism was spreading at a dangerous level in the country and called for proactive measures to discourage its formation and recruitment.

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