The first Islamic teachers in Kumasi were invited by the King, the Asantehene. They settled near the court to provide protective charms and prayers for the king and his army. After British conquest, many more Muslims settled in the city, in a quarter called the Zongo.
They included the families of British soldiers recruited among Africans in the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast and Northern Nigeria. Other immigrants from all over the savannah zone of West Africa came to trade or to teach and judge disputes, representing all the major schools of Islamic practice. In addition to the impressive central mosque, not far from the Kumasi Central Market, there are mosques in many central and suburban neighborhoods. Today, foreign Muslims still visit and settle in Kumasi to teach or learn Koranic studies as well as to seek work or trade.
When colonial schools first opened, Muslims hesitated to send their children to the local ones because many of them were affiliated with Christian churches or the Asante royal family. In addition to patronizing Koranic schools, after independence they opened modern primary and secondary schools with a Muslim orientation. These enabled Muslims to obtain the formal qualifications needed for better jobs in the public sector or the private formal sector, without pressure to convert. Female enrollment grew more slowly, due to concerns about girls' contact with male students and teachers.
Kumasi now boasts a coeducational government-approved secondary school with Muslim orientation, whose stricter discipline attracts some non-Muslim parents. More recently, private schools have opened that offer the full range of required subjects. Those where interviews were held catered to older Muslims returning to school after several years of childbearing, trading and domestic work responsibilities.