The Ghanaian Muslim community in Finland

The Ghanaian Muslim community in Finland

Some Ghanaian muslims who are promoting Islam in Finland

Today, I focus on the Ghanaian Muslim community in Finland. As I have said previously, there are many personalities and institutions that contribute to the smooth running of things in the lives of Ghanaian migrants in Fin­land. The Ghanaian Muslim commu­nity is a very good example.

The exploits of such people or groups are laudable and should be acknowledged. I have previously written about the Church of Pen­tecost (COP) when their National Head, Apostle Eric Nyamekye, visit­ed Helsinki a few months ago.

I have also written about the African Catholic Chaplaincy when Catholics, Lutherans and other worshippers celebrated a Thanks­giving Holy Mass organised by the Chaplaincy at the Kallio (Lutheran) Church in Helsinki, which was a key milestone in ecumenism.

The religious life of Ghana­ian migrants in Finland, whether Christians or Muslims, also shows the role of religion in binding them together for positive outcomes.

The Ghanaian Muslim

community in Finland

There is a sizeable number of Ghanaian Muslims in Finland, although this estimation is based on my own rough evaluation and not on any official statistics. The Ghanaian Muslim group is a strong, well-knit one, devoted to building the spiritual and physical lives of its members through prayers at the mosque on Fridays and in other social activities.

The Muslim group has long been in existence. According to Mr Adam Mohammed Naporo, one of the founding members, most of the current members came to meet the group as a small community.

Initially, the members prayed with other nationals at their place of worship. Later, as the number of Ghanaian Muslims grew, they formed themselves into a well-or­ganised group, which has existed for about 15 years now.

They also saw the need to edu­cate the young ones about the Gha­naian culture and heritage. While teaching the tenets of the religion is seen as very important, “many parents felt the need to teach their kids the Ghanaian culture too, their roots”, Mr Naporo said.

Organising themselves

Aside going to the mosque for Fri­day prayers, the Ghanaian Muslims also organise other social activities that bring them together in unity and cordiality. These are goals that their leaders strive to pursue for the group to achieve.

The group usually gets together to celebrate important religious events such as the Eid ul-fitr and Eid ul-ahda. At such events, other people outside the group are invited to partake in the joyous celebration to mark the holy months of fasting.

The Muslim group also organises classes or a school (makaranta) for the kids every Saturday, Sunday, and on holi­days. According to Mr Moro Abdulai, one of the leaders, the group also organises trips to Estonia and other places for its members.

Inculcating values

The new group got together a number of years back to raise their kids and teach them the tenets of Islam as well as values of the Ghana­ian culture.

The leaders also try to instil discipline and give the kids the moral upbringing and identity as Muslims and as good citizens residing in Finland.

According to Mr. Abdulai, in their syllabus they also teach lessons on manners. Sometimes, they even invite experts within the Finnish society to talk and thus expose the kids with an education on discipline and integration.

How do they appreciate the Finn­ish society they live in? According to Mr Naporo, their group sees living as a kind of social contract. “We see ourselves as having a contract of living in Finland and so we should honour the contract by obeying the laws of the country. We let our people appreciate that”, he pointed out.

Unity and harmony

The Ghanaian Muslim community stands for unity and harmony in their group as well as in the larger Ghanaian migrant community in Finland.

The Ghanaian Muslims are very supportive of activities by the Gha­na Union Finland, a body represent­ing Ghanaian migrants and devoted to enhancing close cooperation and cordial relationships for effective integration of its members into the Finnish society, while also upholding the good image of Ghana abroad.

Members of the Ghanaian Muslim community prepare popular dish­es—waakye, tuo zaafi, etc.—and donate them to the Ghana Union for its events, which are usually well attended.

Ensuring integration

All this also indicate the opportu­nities for members of the Ghanaian diaspora in Finland to integrate into the Finnish society through religion and their religious activities and affiliation.

As I keep pointing out, Finland encourages migrants’ participation in the planning of issues concerning the migrants themselves, using this strategy as one of the efficient ways to improve their inclusion. Thus, there is an enabling environment created within the Finnish religious ecology that undoubtedly helps mi­grants, including Ghanaian Muslim migrants, to integrate into the host Finnish society. Thank you!

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