SHAFAQNA- The Office of Shia National Imam, Ghana hereby uses this medium to condemn in no uncertain
terms the sudden transfer of Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih
Al-Dhuby to Ghana. Since, these Muslim brothers have ideologically and militarily undergone
training with Taliban Al-Qaeda, their existence in Ghana irrespective of the time limit may give
rise to extremism and create a fertile ground for terrorists` in our peaceful country.
As Ghanaians, there are no obscure or mysterious domestic and foreign policy issue that we have
only to accept without being allowed to subject them to a critical level of questioning. Much as
it’s an important necessity for Ghana to compassionately host and accommodate refugees,
migrants and detainees, we believe the `sudden` transfer of the two al-Qaeda members raises
serious questions for all thinking people.
The West African sub-region appears to be in a scare mongering time owing to the increasing
sophistication and better coordination by sub-national organizations and individuals who frown
upon secularism and want to overthrow governments, introduce socio-political and religious
change through suicide bombing, crucifixion and killing of the vulnerable in the name of
religion. These misguided acts and wanton disregard for human life have, to the largest extent,
changed the perception of the world about religion, especially Islam and Muslims of late.
Ghana will soon be at a cross road as a result of the impending 2016 parliamentary and
presidential election which normally create a tense atmosphere in the country. Since these
individuals do not speak any of our local languages, they are neither of a single Ghanaian skin
color nor nationality we think the best place for them would have been any of the Arab
Republics, or any of the European countries who are strong allies of the US with better
capabilities and resources to handle them.
Congress had voted and outlawed the Gitmo detainees from staying in the United States, the US
Embassy Public Affairs Head Danniel Fennel failed to comment on the classified 2007 US
intelligence report which described bin Atef and al-Dhouby as `dangerous`, he also admitted that
the US could not guarantee Ghanaians 100% as to whether Bin Atef and al-Dhouby will be
dangerous or not. All these ambiguities are grim reminders of the high level of threats these
individuals may pose to our national security and the need for our political and religious leaders,
commentators and the media to put these issues in their proper context devoid of propaganda and
prejudice. The fact that these people had only five months orientation with al-Qaeda is not a
basis for they being low-level operatives. For an hour`s ideological and military training from a
terrorist organization is enough to deepen and consolidate their belligerent posture which may
take years to DE- radicalize them. For instance, Abdel Hamid Abaoud who is said to have
masterminded the November 2015 terrorists’ attacks in Paris was compassionately allowed to
enter the EU as a refugee. Other reports also indicate that Abubakar al-Baghdadi was arrested by
US forces and detained at the Bucca detention Camp in Iraq, he was later released as a `low-level
prisoner` who later became the leader of a global jihadi movement called ISIL-ISIS.
Whilst we respect the humble appeal of his Eminence the National Chief Imam Sheikh Dr.
Uthman Nuhu Sharubtu to accept the two on humanitarian grounds, the Shiite Muslim
community in Ghana strongly reject the transfer of these individuals from the Guantanamo to the
democratic Republic of Ghana. We call on his Excellency President John Dramani Mahama to
repatriate or relocate them to a conducive environment where they can freely and conveniently
With the commencement of the New Year, we express hope that the peace, humility, piety,
forgiveness, unity and solidarity among Muslim communities and nations would be further
consolidated by adhering to Islamic teachings and guidelines of Prophet Muhammad(s) and his
household(as). We also urge Muslims to continue closely working for the sake of furthering and
strengthening the unity, tolerance, friendly relations and cooperation existing between Muslims,
Christians and members of other religious denominations in the country.