Delegates at the ongoing National Constitutional Conference in Gbarnga, Bong County woke up Wednesday morning with distraught and surprise when the Muslim Community of Bong County stormed the grounds of the Gbarnga Administrative building in protest, demanding removal of count 24 of views being validated at the conference. Count 24 is being proffered by a Christian group, which wants Liberia to be legislated as a Christian State.
The Muslim Community of Bong had shutdown businesses, including transportation, food centers, and petroleum stations in protest to the proposed Christian State.
Count 24 says Liberia should be returned to a Christian State. The Christian Heritage group argues that Liberia was a Christian State and the country was founded on Christian principles, but that portion contained in the 1847 Constitution, was reportedly removed by the Dr. Amos Sawyer-led committee, which rewrote the Constitution in 1986.
The Muslims in their hundreds paraded with placards, some of which read: ‘Liberia is not Church but country’; ‘Let our country remains a secular state’; Liberia will never be a Christian state’; ‘No need to religious statues of our country’, amongst others.
On the other hand, Christian delegates at the conference mounted giant size speakers, blaring gospel songs as they danced in total jubilations on grounds that their beloved country will once more return to a Christian nation.
Speaking to The NewDawn on the emotionally charged grounds of the Bong County Administrative Building, the Chairman of the Bong County Muslim Caucus, Imam Dawda Bility, said the intent of the Constitution Review Committee to allow such change in the organic law of the land is a symbol for chaos, religious violence and a bad example for the next generation.
Imam Bility said Liberia has been a secular state since the foundation of the country and that both Muslims and Christians are living together without any trouble, but the proposed amendment is a foundation for religious violence, something which he said, will derail the already fragile peace in the country.
He asked if Liberia were to be legislated a Christian nation, corruption will stop, bribery will be aborted in schools, and roads will be paved throughout the country.
The Imam stressed that there are more pressing issues the country should focus on then changing religious status.
It took the United Nations Mission in Liberia or UNMIL police contingent and officers of the Police Support Unit of the Liberia National Police to calm the situation by peacefully deploying around the vicinity of the Administrative Building.
However, officials of the CRC and the Governance Commission or GC and delegates from across Liberia have resolved to restart the thematic session but under tension and noise from the protestors.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor