Just like when the ex-Guantanamo detainees entered Ghana, the presence of a controversial Islamic preacher, Dr Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips in Ghana has incensed fear-filled curiosity and debate among the Ghanaian populace.
However, Ghana National Security has once more calmed the fears of the people by emphatically saying that the Islamic preacher poses no threat whatsoever to national security.
Speaking to Graphic Online on his activities in the country, the National Security Coordinator, Yaw Donkor, said 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?”
He assured Ghanaians that the Islamic preacher is under close surveillance and has so far not said or done anything that could incense terrorism.
So, as far as I’m concerned, since he entered this country, he hasn’t said anything that requires me to take any action against him,” he said.
According to the National Security Coordinator, since Christian preachers had been allowed to visit Ghana and speak freely, it would have been unfair and dangerous to have prevented Dr. Philips from doing same.
We should be careful. He is not here on his own. Thirty percent of this country is listening to him or they think he came because of them. If you have no reason to throw him out, you are going to create a problem by your own action. So we should watch it that way,” he told Graphic Online.
Dr Philips was accused (though with unfounded evidences), of having connections with the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre which killed six and injured a thousand. He was therefore labelled an “unindicted Co-conspirator” by the US and was deported and banned from the country in 1994.
The Islamic preacher has also been deported as well as banned from several other countries including the UK, Australia, Bangladesh, and Philippines for accusations bothering on extreme and radical Islamic teachings. On the occasion of his deportation from the Philippines, several Muslim leaders and human rights advocates described the move as a ‘harassment’, saying that Philips did nothing wrong to deserve deportation from the country.
This harassment by the authorities against Dr. Philips is an act to dishonour a visitor of Muslims in Mindanao. Being prevented from visiting to preach to his Muslim brothers and sisters in Mindanao is a form of religious persecution,” Mindanao Human Rights Action Center executive director Bobby Benito said.
The Islamic preacher has already delivered lectures on the theme “Insurgency In God’s Name: Revelation or Rebellion”. He was in Tamale yesterday being Monday, 8th February for a lecture at the Tamale Jubilee Park titled “Islamic Identity Under Globalization” between 8:00 and 11:00pm. He will hold another lecture today titled “Islam and Media: Enemies or Foes” from 10:00am-12:00pm at the Tamale UDS .
Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips was born Dennis Bradley Philips. He is a Jamaican-Canadian Muslim teacher, speaker, and author who lives in Qatar. He appears on Peace TV, which is a 24-hour Islamic satellite TV channel. Dr Philips authored a book titled, Western culture, led by the United States, is the enemy of Islam. On his Facebook page, which has more than 4 million followers, Philips is described as a former Christian who converted to Islam in 1972.