THE CENTRAL Mosque in Kumasi was nearly turned into a boxing arena yesterday when two feuding factions clashed violently while thousands of Muslims have converged at the sacred place to pray in commemoration of the Eid-ul-Adha.
The unfortunate incident occurred following the representative of the Sarkin Zongo of Kumasi, Alhaji Rufai Alao, the Yoruba Chiefâ€™s decision to attend the spiritual event late; an action which other Muslims present deemed disrespectful to their religion.
As usual, prayers to commemorate the historic event which was attended by the Ashanti Regional Minister, Dr. Kwaku Agyeman Mensah and other officials, started at 9:30 a.m. with Muslims from all walks of life taking active part in it.
All this while, the Yoruba Chief, who was to represent the Sarkin Zongo, Alhaji Umar Farouk, who is believed to have travelled outside the country and his entourage were not seen at the event grounds.
The Sarkin Zongoâ€™s representative and his entourage arrived at the Central Mosque when the Regional Chief Imam, Alhaji Abdul Mumuni Haruna started to deliver the sermon.
The late arrival of the Yoruba Chief suddenly raised tempers of most of the Muslims at the event, who deemed his action as gross disrespect to their religion, DAILY GUIDE gathered.
The Yoruba chiefâ€™s supporters did not see anything wrong with their chiefâ€™s late arrival and were also not happy about the Chief Imamâ€™s decision to lead the prayers, marking the event at a time when he was not present.
Ideally, the chief arrived before the Imamâ€™s arrival. But in this case the Chief, who was acting for the substantive chief, arrived late and when the Chief Imam arrived he led the prayers to the discomfiture of the Yoruba Chief.
This misunderstanding nearly went out of control as the loyalists of the Yoruba Chief who were angry, engaged some equally irritated-looking Muslims at the function in a verbal tussle.
Soon the verbal war was nearly turned into real fisticuffs as the two feuding parties were seen shovelling each other in an angry fashion.
The unfortunate incident occurred right in the presence of the regional minister and other government officials and reports said it took the intervention of Dr. Kwaku Agyeman Mensah before calm was restored.
When normalcy was restored, the Chief Imam, Abdul Mumuni Haruna continued with his sermon, calling on Allah to show his mercy on Ghana for the impending polls to be peaceful.
He stressed on the need for the country to stay in peace before, during and after the December elections and urged the populace to discard acts that could plunge the country into chaos.
On his part, Dr. Mensah urged the people, notably the Muslim youth, not to avail themselves to be used by unscrupulous people to cause violent to mar the polls.
He entreated them to abide by the teachings of Islam, which preached peace for mankind and played leading roles to ensure that Ghana had successful polls this year.
Later on, DAILY GUIDE gathered that the two feuding parties smoked peace pipe and even greeted each other before leaving the Central Mosque.
FROM I.F. Joe Awuah Jnr., Kumasi