Ghanaian Converts to Islam, Preaches to Pagan Villages

ACCRA – A Ghanaian student, Faruk Arango Groupore, who converted to Islam in Turkey, is now introducing his religion to the pagans in his West African country.

“After studying in Istanbul, I returned and joined an Islamic preaching mission which visits the pagan northern villages in Ghana. We first contact the tribal leaders and tell them we are there with an intention of introducing Islam,” Groupore told Albawaba about his campaign which is led by a Ghanaian Muslim journalist named- Jemal Abdulnasir.

While preaching in the mission, “many people tell us: ‘We have inherited this religion from our forefathers, we won’t leave their way.’ Others say: ‘We can’t accept your Islam, but, our children can be Muslims,’” Groupore informed.

“Some villagers send to us their children and spouses to teach them about Islam. Sometimes some families prevent their members from joining us,” he continued.

“There was a ten-year-old child, his father was the leader of the pagan practice, and he never allowed him to come to us. But the boy was very interested in becoming a Muslim; he always ran to our prayer area whenever he heard the Azan. He even used to come to join us during the dawn prayer; he sometimes came before we read the Azan, and we know it’s prayer time when we see him,” Groupore acknowledged.

Historically, Islam entered Ghana during the 15th century, mainly through Muslim North African merchants. According to 2010 census, Ghanaian Muslims made up between 20 to 27 percent of the country’s population.

Between 1960 and 2010, Christianity in Ghana grew from just less than half of the country’s population at 41% to the current share of 68%.

Personal Journey

Groupore grew up in a rural area in Ghana along with his six siblings and his father, who used to be a leading figure in the village’s pagan faith.

After his father passed away, his mother and siblings converted to Christianity and moved to his elder sister’s place in the Ghanaian capital Accra to pursue their education in schools.

“Although I had never been a Christian, my elder sister used to take me to the church,” Groupore said.

What attracted him the most toward Islam “were the Azan prayer call and the Qur’an; they felt like beautiful songs.”

Unlike his family, Groupore visited an Islamic religious seminary in Ghana where he studied Qur’an and Shari`ah.

“The other thing in Islam that impressed me was Ramadan month; my Muslim friends used to do good things for me and their parents would share their meals with me too during Iftar,” Groupore expressed happily.

After finishing his junior high school exams in 2014, a friend encouraged him to apply for the Turkish scholarship of Turkiye Diyanet Foundation (TDV) and Imam Hatip High Schools.

After getting accepted and travelling to Istanbul, “I faced difficulties in terms of communication as nobody spoke my language. However, the good thing is our teachers were very kind.”

The Ghanaian preacher said, “The TDV has expanded my horizons. Islam teaches us to be beneficial not only for ourselves but also for the whole humanity.”