Liberian Muslims are convinced that ‘Christianizing Liberia’ as expressed in the hotly debated Proposition 24, one of the certified proposed amendments to the Liberian constitution, signals an “imminent threat to (their) existence.”
Proposition 24 or declaring Liberia a Christian nation is among several amendments to the Constitution proposed by Liberians and voted on at the national conference in Gbarnga, Bong County last month.
The Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) says it is now ready to present the proposed amendments to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who will forward them to the Legislature. Those amendments, after being considered by the Legislature, will be put to a national referendum.
Yesterday, several hundred Muslims assembled at the Capitol Building, the seat of the legislature, to express their apprehension about proposition 24.
Dressed in their various Muslim attires, the petitioners noted that the validated Proposition 24 does not only pose a threat to them, but denies their rights as citizens.
The Muslims described the assertion by many Christians that “Liberia was founded on Christian principles” as a “myth.”
In their petition, read by William Knowles, the Muslims called on the Legislature to consider proposition 24 as “trash” and that government should at all times protect Muslims’ rights in the country.
They described the entire validation process in Gbarnga as “conspicuously submerged in a pool of inherent illegality”, calling it “an attempt to constitutionalize the marginalization of Muslims”.
First appearing as worshippers, the Muslims later changed their demeanor to angry and forceful protestors. They declared that the perception about Liberia being a Christian state “only exposes the ill intent of a very few purporting in the ambiance of Christianity to introduce extremism purposed at alienating and excluding Liberian Muslims from the body politics of Liberia and curbing their competitive edge in the Liberian economy by legalizing the illegal and constitutionalizing the prolonged marginalization of Muslims in Liberia.”
They argued that the foundation of Liberia cannot speak to the assertion of Liberia as a Christian nation “even by written or oral history.”
They maintained that any attempt to pursue the path of conducting a referendum on such purpose will “seriously threaten the gains made in sustaining the fragile peace we currently enjoy.”
The Muslims demanded more budgetary support from government to Islamic schools.
Receiving their statement, President Pro-Tempore Armah Jallah thanked the petitioners for the approach and assured them of his chamber’s appropriate action.
Flanked by Grand Cape Mount County Senator and a strong opposition to the Proposition 24, Cllr. Varney Sherman, the Pro-Temp welcomed the democratic process and encouraged a “more tolerant and peaceful” approach to the national debate.