Muslims in Liberia seek Legislation for two majorIslamic festivals to become national holidays.
They want end of the holy month Eid al-Fitr celebrated as a national holiday to be known as Ramadan Day and Eid al-Adha as AbrahamDay, nationally.
In a press release Wednesday, the Muslims community here noted they’ve been making the request since 1995 but it has not been adhere to, so they feel now is the time.
Muslims are calling on all well-meaning Liberians from all faiths, institutions andbackgrounds to stand with them as they prepare to converge at the Capitol on Tuesday, August 4, 2020, to petitionthe 54th Legislature to enact both major festivals asNational holidays.
According to them, it is sadden that Liberia, as asecular state with an approximate 12.2 percent Muslims population, would consider Islamic holidays as an abomination; which should not be at all.
‘’Most interestingly, but highly frustrating, our government (past andcurrent) have perpetually ignored the rights of the Liberian Muslimsover the years. The over one million Muslim students and workforce inLiberia have been forced to attend classes or go to work on bothRamadan Day, and Abraham Day, or the students are punished either byfailing in their exams, quizzes, presentations or other academic works; while those from the workforce faced suspension, or a cut insalary for observing their Eid with family members’’ the releasenoted.
They said while there are several nationally recognized andcelebrated holidays in Liberia, it is interesting to note thatthere is not a single holiday dedicated to Muslims though theConstitution declares the nation as a secular state.
The release further points that with a comparative analysis to other West African nations, Muslims inLiberia see it as a clear violation of their fundamental right to enjoy Islamic holidays whereas consistent with the separation ofreligion, the Republic is non-religion thereby making itsecular, but Christmas as well as other religious holidays arepurposely observed here.
The Constitution of Liberia Chapter III under Article 14 provides for theseparation of religion and state and stipulates that all persons areentitled to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, except asrequired by law to protect public safety, order, health, morals, orthe rights of others. It also provides for equal protection/treatmentunder the law.
Similarly, Article 17 of the same chapter guarantees that “all persons, at all times, in an orderly and peaceable manner, shall have the right to assemble and consult on their common good, to instruct their representatives, to petition the Government or other functionaries for the redress of grievances and to associate fully with others or refuse to associate in political parties, trade unions and other organizations.” While official holidays are legislated, the process leading to such enactments require strong lobby and majority votes. Press Release