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Muslims divided over Boakai support

A scheduled endorsement of ruling Unity Party (UP) standard bearer Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai this Sunday, 2 July by a group of Liberian Muslims has generated division among Muslims here, with some calling the gesture an insult to the religion.

“You don’t form Islamic organization …; I mean religious organization should be about religious affairs. That is the responsibility you attached to religion. You will not find other religious groups doing this kind of thing. It is an insult, the guys there need to stop it”, Idris Bility told a pro – Boakai Muslim group Wednesday, 28 June via Mobile phone at Prime 105.5 Fm.

The National Muslim Heritage Foundation represented by Mr. Jusufu Keita and Amara Kwadu Mohammed on Wednesday, 28 June announced a planned endorsement of Mr. Boakai this Sunday, with a targeted population of 4,000 persons to assemble at the Monrovia Vocational Training Center (MVTC) in Paynesville.

“For the Muslim Community we believe that our cultural values are similar. Islam advocates honesty, Islam advocates integrity, Islam advocates sincerity, humility, and these are values that are coincidentally this man possesses”, Mr. Jusufu Keita says.

Adding to the pronouncement, Amara Kwadu Mohammed claims that it is the responsibility of the group “to provide a workable political direction for the Islamic population in Liberia”.

“Then we expect an endorsement statement to be read, an acceptance statement also will be … read by His Excellency Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai and then we will also officially be launching the institution”, Mohammed says.

He claims that the Islamic group also has a post electoral agenda to venture into the areas of education, medicine and other professional services to give back to the community.

But their presentation did not go down well with other Liberian Muslims, demonstrated by a split in reaction particularly to their plan to endorse Mr. Boakai in the name of National Muslim Heritage Foundation.

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Caller Idris Bility claims that it is “a deception to Islam”, arguing that “we are Muslims and people should not be forming Islamic organization to push their political agenda”.

“That is an abuse to Islam”, he says, and accuses the organization of having no article of incorporation.

Mr. Bility’s argument was supported by caller Asumana, who argues that endorsing a political candidate under the banner of religion is absolutely wrong, and urges them to desist from it.

Another supporter to Bility’s argument Mr. Jura Sannoh claims that the group is reducing “us” to public ridicule. “Why should you reduce Islam into a political entity to endorse someone who has not stood for Islam. When they burnt the Mosque in Lofa what did Joseph Nyumah Boakai say as a sitting Vice President when Muslims were attacked in Lofa under his administration?” Sannoh wonders.

But some callers insisted that the pro – Boakai group did nothing wrong for choosing the “right leader” for Liberia. A caller from Bushrod Island just after Mr. Bility had dropped the line, claims that in 2011, the National Mandingo Caucus pledged their support to President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf, and wonders why others were here but didn’t have problem with it.

Also pledging his support on the show, Sheakh Jalloh called the program a laudable gesture, claiming that “all the Muslims are very cognizant of what is going on, so we want to pledge our support to this movement”.

“And we’re urging every Muslim, this is a means of unifying us Muslims in this country so let us assemble to MVTC in order to propagate the message …” he adds. Another caller introducing himself as King Mohammed expressed congratulation to the pro – Boakai Muslim group, suggesting that they are doing the right thing.

He claims that Amara Kwadu Mohammed had even understated the number of Muslim supporters they intend to assemble at MVTC on Sunday, alleging that they target about 25,000 Muslims to show their support and launch the group.

By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah

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