• Fathia Ayodele Kareem, now a medical doctor says the countless values she imbibed from Wesley Girls came with a price to pay.
• The former student reveals that she was informed prior to her admission that Muslims were not allowed to pray so she adhered while she was there.
• She believes she was able to fast and read her Quran because her classmates did not report her, adding that she was passed over for a prefectorial role due to her religion.
The ongoing scandal about Wesley Girls High School and their Muslim students continues to open the wounds of some past students who suffered such discrimination by the Methodist Church, founders of the government-funded school.
Fathia Ayodele Kareem, who claims to have attended Wesley Girls Senior High School in Cape Coast from 2006 to 2009, and is now a Medical Doctor, narrated her ordeal at her alma mater.
In a Facebook post sighted by GhanaWeb, Fathia Ayodele Kareem stated that Wey Gey Hey installed in her many values that she was grateful for, but that came with a price to pay.
She described her experience in the secondary school as “a walk in the park” as compared with most of the stories that she has read under the hashtag #GeyHeyMuslimsSpeak, which made her really sad.
Fathia Ayodele Kareem, in her post, said: “I was fortunate to be placed in Ellis house and I say fortunate because it seems the more bearable Muslim experiences have that in common. I was the second person in my family to attend Gey Hey so I had been informed that Muslims were not allowed to pray and I didn’t fight it.
“I focused on other things, reading the Quran which I did freely in my class and in my dorm (shout out to S1 class and Ellis house sisters), no one reported me for doing this and it never crossed my mind that it was even a possibility. I was able to fast on some days albeit with some challenges. I had to fast most days without eating suhoor (pre-dawn meal) and when I was able to smuggle a bottle of milo into my dorm, then I had that. Food was banned from the dorms so I had to find something easy that I could gulp down in minutes to minimize chances of getting caught. My table heads didn’t report me either for not eating, really after hearing all the other stories, I can’t be more grateful for Ellis house sisters.”
Kareem added that she was “passed over for prefectship which I believe was because I am Muslim.”
Wesley Girls, according to the former student, had not spelt out plainly the do’s and don’ts of being a Muslim attending a Christian school, so everything a Muslim student does is very “obscure and ambiguous”.
She narrated further, “each year group has a messaging platform and I hear some have had conversations about these issues, some good and some just appalling but I can’t relate because my year group page is rather quiet, not sure whether it’s good or bad really.
“One thing that rubs me off the wrong way since these conversations started is that the main concern for some old girls is the name of the school being dragged through the mud.”
Fathia Ayodele Kareem then asked, “How is the reputation of a school more important than the treatment of its students even if it’s a minority group? Is that not akin to the family that tells a wronged family member not to report a crime because of saving face, ‘come and let’s solve the matter at home?”
She noted that it is not the goal of Muslims to taint the name of Wey Gey Hey because it does not bring any satisfaction to them.
“We would rather we didn’t have those experiences in the first place because the mental and emotional hurdles we had to jump through can never be erased,” Kareem stated. “Some of us have healed and are healing and in sharing these stories, we hope to spare another generation from having to go through similar treatment.”
Fathia Ayodele Kareem observed that the conversation about Wey Gey Hey was sparked by the no fasting rule but it was merely the pin that set the ball rolling.
“I know this might be hard to imagine but humour me for a minute. Imagine as a Christian, you attend a school and you’re told you cannot pray, you can’t attend church service, you can’t read your bible. Preposterous right? Then because you were seen reading your bible, you are ‘punished’ by being forced to memorize Quran passages. I’m sure you can’t even imagine that happening, not in a million years. Well, lucky you, that’s the treatment Gey Hey Muslims have had to endure in more recent times.”