FOLLOWING HOURS OF heated argument and protests, especially by delegates from the Muslim community, the delegates at last year’s Constitutional Review Conference in Gbarnga, Bong County, unanimously voted for Liberia to be identified as a as a Christian Nation.
THE MUSLIM DELEGATES had earlier contended that the proposition be extracted from the list of propositions owing to the fact that it contravened democratic tenets, aimed at targeting one group of people. ALL PROPOSITIONS VOTED upon at the Gbarnga CRC Conference by the delegates were to be submitted to the Legislature for further deliberations – something already done by the President of Liberia, with the rejection of the “Christian State” proposition by her.
THE PRESENTATION OF the ‘Gbarnga document’ by President Sirleaf was following by a protest by the Muslim Community in Monrovia, whose leadership threatened to massively mobilize all imams and entire Muslim Community across the country to vehemently resist any decision by the Liberian Legislature to put forth the proposition to Christianize Liberia.
JUST RECENTLY, THE National Imam Council of the Muslim Council issued another statement, threatening to boycott any referendum called for by the Liberian Legislature on the proposition to make Liberia a Christian Nation.
CHAPTER III (UNDER FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS), Article 15 a, of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia states that “Every person shall have the right to freedom of expression, being fully responsible for the abuse thereof. This right shall not be curtailed, restricted or enjoined by government save during an emergency declared in accordance with this Constitution”.
SECTION B, ARTICLE 15 also states that “The right encompasses the right to hold opinions without interference and the right to knowledge. It includes freedom of speech and of the press, academic freedom to receive and impart knowledge and information and the right of libraries to make such knowledge available. It includes non-interference with the use of the mail, telephone and telegraph. It likewise includes the right to remain silent”.
WHILE THE MUSLIM Community, in consonance with the foregoing Constitutional provisions, may have such rights and freedoms, it is also unfortunate and regrettable that other than thriving on the appropriate democratic path, they would choose to issue threats in seeking redress to whatever qualms they may have with the proposition to Christianize Liberia, while the Government of Liberia remains conspicuously quiet on such threats.
WE ARE OF the fervent belief the inability of the government to erect a checkpoint to these threatening public comments through the print and electronic media may only be lending credence and encouraging these threats.
THERE SHOULD BE no reason why instead of choosing the rightful democratic path of lobbying with other stakeholders in the entire process, especially some Christians who do not support the Christian State proposition, the Muslims would threaten to “mobilize all Muslims across the country or demonstrate peacefully” in opposition to any referendum on the proposition.
THIS COULD BE interpreted in any manner and form by other Liberians to mean violence to reject the exercise. WHAT THE MUSLIMS could do is to redirect their intention(s) and now begin to constructively engage other stakeholders of the process, especially non-Muslims opposed to the Christianization of Liberia, so that even if there should a referendum, it could go their way.