The Member of Parliament for Madina, Francis-Xavier Sosu, is proposing a new bill to amend the country’s Public Holidays Act 2001, Act 601, by providing an additional two Islamic public holidays.

The holidays are Tashreeq (a day after the Eid-al-Adha Festival) and Shaqq (a day before the Eid-al-Fitr).

The lawyer cum legislator tendered the bill to the Clerk of Parliament on Wednesday, 29th November 2023.

The Madina MP said in a statement released on Thursday that the Public Holidays Act 2001, Act 601, was amended as a part of the endeavor to establish a society that is more inclusive, productive, and progressive.

According to him, the goal of the Public Holidays (Amendment) Bill, 2023 (No. 2) was to provide Muslims two days off for each Islamic holiday instead of the current one.

“The right of every Ghanaian to freedom of religion is a fundamental one. In Article 21(c) every Ghanian has the freedom to practice any religion and to manifest any religion. Being the 2nd dominant religion in Ghana, Ghanaian Muslims must have equal opportunities when it comes to the celebration of religious festivals.”

“After 40 days of mandatory religious obligation of fasting, practitioners of Islamic Religion deserve an additional day for rest and to prepare for full activities,” the MP said.

Mr. Sosu said the proposed days are the day before the Eid-al-Fitr, which is observed by Muslims as the Shaqq day (a day before the end of the holy month of Ramadan in which Muslims mark the end of the fast), and the Tashreeq day (a day after the Eid-al-Adha in which Muslims remember the unwavering trust by Prophet Ibrahim to offer his son as a sacrifice).

“The religious significance of these holidays is to afford Muslims the opportunity to fully manifest and observe their faith and offer gratitude to Allah for all that He has done, granted them, and continues to do; as well as for them to fully place and restore their trust in Allah and His abundant care, Grace and wisdom,” he added.

According to the Madina MP, the current system is unfair, discriminatory, and prevents Muslims from fully expressing their Islamic faith as it is defined and safeguarded by the 1992 Constitution as well as other international laws and treaties.

“When passed, this Act will go a long way to promote religious tolerance and help realize, promote and guarantee a more open, progressive, inclusive and secure society,” he stated.