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YJ’s Bill Is A Worrisome Precedence

A BILL FOR the enactment of two Muslim Holidays into law is currently before the relevant committees of the Liberian Senate – Judiciary and Claims and Petitions, for perusal/analysis and recommendation to the Senate’s Plenary shortly.

THE BILL, SUBMITTED about three weeks ago by Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson, calls for the annual observance of the end of Ramadan and the Feast of Abraham (Lungee) as national holidays in Liberia.

ACCORDING TO SENATOR Johnson, the bill is in consonance with “An Act to Amend Chapter 1 (National Holidays) of Patriotic and Cultural Observances Law (Title 25 of the Liberian Code of Laws revised) and provides thereto two widely celebrated Islamic days – End of Ramadan and the Feast of Abraham (Lungee) – to be observed as national holidays..” for Plenary’s consideration and subsequent submission to the House of Representatives for concurrence.

“IT IS BUT prudent and in the best interest and fulfillment of our onerous desire of achieving unity in diversity among us all and building such solid foundation of a society of peace, tranquility, stability and security for prosperity, that our Muslim compatriots be recognized for their valuable co-existence and contribution by considering the end of Ramadan and the Feast of Abraham (Lungee) as national holidays,” the former warlord-turned Evangelist and politician indicated.

ACCORDING TO THE Islamic Religion, the Feast of Abraham is the day Muslims celebrate the deliverance of Abraham’s son Isaac as offertory for a living sacrifice to God, while Ramadan – the ninth month of the Muslim year, is a period during which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset.

SENATOR JOHNSON, AN erstwhile rebel leader, and now a ‘born again’ Christian, reflected on the major roles Muslims have played in Liberia’s body politic, and their continuous and tremendous contribution to the growth of the Liberian economy through business, trade and distinguished public service.

WHILE SENATOR JOHNSON’S rationale for submitting the bill may have no qualms, he and his likes must also be made to understand in earnest that Muslims and other religious groupings in Liberia have long co-existed in unity since the nation’s inception. It is not the enactment of the two Muslim Holidays into law that will enhance peace and unity between Muslims and other religions, but how true and good governance is manifested in the administration of the state by those charged with the Constitutional responsibility of doing so.

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LET THE NIMBA County Senator and those harboring this “holiday’s belief” be cognizant of the fact that peace and unity is contingent upon the general security of the people – not a group of people, as it relates to their socio-economic well-being and development.

MOREOVER, IT WOULD even be foolhardy for anyone or group of people to ride on the belief that because there are Christian Holidays in Liberia, there must also be Muslim Holidays.

LIBERIA CHRISTIANS DO not have a particular holiday, but observe those with world-wide significance such as Christmas, as well as Easter, among others. Fast and Prayer Day – the only Liberian Holiday, was enacted into law by an Act of the Legislature not as a Christian Holiday, but one for all religions against the backdrop of the territorial threat faced by the nation from neighboring Sierra Leone –then a British Colony.

THE FACT THAT Muslims and other religions have co-existed since the foundation of Liberia in peace and unity, especially with all exercising their respective freedoms in accordance with the Liberian
Constitution, introducing specific national holidays for a particular group of religion may just be more divisive and conflict-prone. This is why the relevant committees of the Liberian Senate currently
perusing Senator Prince Y. Johnson’s bill must be very careful in going about their recommendation(s) to the Senate’s Plenary shortly.

ADDITIONALLY, THE SENATE’S Plenary must also exercise the highest degree of “elderliness” in any decision on the enactment of a law for the two Muslim Holidays.

SENATOR PRINCE Y. JOHNSON’S Bill is truly a worrisome precedence for the Liberian Senate to set.

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