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Churches want Snowe’s bills ignored

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-meet with Senate Pro-Tempore Chie

Bishops from Churches in Liberia on Tuesday, 15 June met with the President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate Albert Chie, urging the Liberian Senate not to endorse religious bills submitted by Bomi County Senator Edwin M. Snowe to legislate religious holidays here. Mr. Snowe in his bills wants the last day of Ramadan and Abraham Day which are observed by the Muslim faith and Easter Monday which is also observed by the Christian faith here, to be legislated as national holidays in Liberia.

But many have been questioning Snowe here about the motive behind his planned legislation. Though Snowe is a Christian, he however represents a county which is predominantly Muslim, having left Montserrado County District #6 which he first represented at the House of Representatives twice before moving on to Represent Bomi in the Senate.

His proposed Acts before the Liberian Senate include an Act Making Easter Monday a public holiday; an Act Making Eid al-Adha (Abraham’s Day) a public holiday; and an Act Making Eid al-Fitr (End of the Holy Month of Ramadan, the Festival of Breaking Fast) a public holiday.But Dominion Christian Fellowship Arch Bishop Isaac Winker, speaking on behalf of the group Bishops at the Liberian Senate Tuesday said they went to the Senate to seek the wisdom of the Pro Tempore Albert T. Chie not to endorse the bill asking for religious holidays because it is not in the interest of peace.

“Liberia has been a peaceful country, we as religious people our job is to continue to pray that the peace and stability be maintained,” Bishop Winker said.

According to him, they are watchdogs, men and women who hear and see from God and it is their responsibility to talk about something that is not in the interest of peace. In response, Senator Chie said the communication from Senator Snowe was read on the floor and as per their rule, it should be read for two times before going in committee room, adding that Snowe has requested that it should be read only one time.

“Maybe Snowe is taking some things into consideration that’s why it has not been read for the second time. And it has to go in committee room before coming to plenary, so it has not officially reached the Liberian Senate,” Chie added.

He thanked the Bishops for the work that they are doing for the country, praying hours for the peace and stability of the country and for the wisdom for all the leaders.It can be recalled that Mr. Snowe recently wrote the plenary of the Liberian Senate requesting their approval to pass the religious bills.

Meanwhile Snowe vows that he will not back down on his pursuit for the legislation of Islamic holidays in Liberia, urging those those he says are opposing these bills to call on their lawmakers to vote against them.
Snowe’s submission of the three legislations comes on the heels of a sustained campaign by some members of the Christian faith to declare Liberia a Christian nation based on a recommendation from a 2015 constitutional review committee.

Christianity is by far the most common faith in Liberia, with recent surveys showing Christians making up 83-86% of the population, up significantly from surveys in the 1980s. By contrast, Islam has declined slightly from 14-15% in the 1980s to 11-12% in recent surveys.

However, in recent years, Muslims in Liberia have also been advocating for the legislation of Eid al-Adha (Abraham’s Day) and Eid al-Fitr (End of the Holy Month of Ramadan, the Festival of Breaking Fast) as national holidays.

In 2020, a group under the banner, the Movement for Islamic Holidays in Liberia called on the Liberian Legislature to pass into law two major Islamic festivals – Eid al-Fitr, known as Ramadan Day and Eid al-Adha also called Abraham day as national holidays. By Ethel A Tweh

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