Ghana is considering a significant amendment to its Public Holidays Act with the submission of the Public Holidays (Amendment) Bill, 2023 (No.2)
The bill, currently under parliamentary review, seeks to extend the period of public holidays for Muslims, granting two days for each Islamic festivity.
This groundbreaking bill focuses on expanding the public holidays dedicated to Islamic celebrations:
The proposed amendment includes Tashreeq (a day after Eid-al-Adha Festival) and Shaqq (a day before Eid-al-Fitr) as public holidays. This seeks to recognize the importance of these days in the Islamic calendar.
The bill emphasizes the fundamental right to freedom of religion, enshrined in Article 21(c) of the 1992 Constitution. By granting two days for each Islamic festivity, the amendment seeks to ensure equality and religious freedom for Ghanaian Muslims.
Tashreeq and Shaqq hold significant cultural and religious importance in Islam. Tashreeq is observed a day after Eid-al-Adha, symbolizing the end of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, while Shaqq is celebrated a day before Eid-al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan.
The proposed amendment aims to foster religious tolerance by recognizing and accommodating the religious practices of Ghana's Muslim population.
The proposed amendment aligns with constitutional provisions emphasizing equality before the law (Article 17(1)) and the right to freedom of religion (Article 26(1)) and resonates with international human rights standards outlined in the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.