The Muslim Council of Liberia, under the chairmanship of Sheikh Omaru A. Kamara, has announced that it has restored relations with the Inter Religious Council of Liberia following a decision by the Liberia Council of Churches not to support the call for Liberia to become a “Christian nation” through constitutional means.
The Muslim Council, in the midst of persistent calls by some Christians to make Liberia a “Christian nation” through a national referendum, withdrew from the Interreligious Council with the belief that Christians are devising strategies through constitutional means to marginalize Muslims.
The Liberia Council of Churches recently came out with a statement distancing itself from calls by some Christians to constitutionally Christianize Liberia, a position that has gained support from some diplomats, including South African Ambassador, Vanapalan Moodley and Nigeria Charge d’Affair, Mohammed Tahir.
On May 13, at the Muslim Council’s Headquarters on Old Road, its Secretary General, Sheikh Akibu Sherif, read from a prepared text that “The Muslim Council of Liberia has welcomed the recent statement by the Liberia Council of Churches denouncing Proposition 24 of the Constitution Review Committee, which seeks to make Liberia a Christian State.”
In response to the LCC’s decision, which the Muslim Council sees as a “historical and humanistic discourse,” Sherif then declared, “As a further manifestation of our respect for the position taken by the Council of Churches, the National Muslim Council of Liberia has immediately restored its membership on the Inter Religious Council of Liberia.”
The council recalled that events surrounding Proposition 24 of the Constitution Review Committee’s (CRC) final report caused an unfortunate stalemate between Muslim and Christian leaders and threatened to disband the Inter Religious Council of Liberia, which has been a pillar in search for peaceful coexistence irrespective of race, creed, ethnicity and religion.
The Secretary General quoted the Muslim Council in the statement as saying that the Liberia Council of Churches’ position reinforces their collective commitment to provide national level leadership towards the promotion of peace and harmony in Liberia.
“We hold that the foresight shown by the Council of Churches reveals that there remain Christian leaders of compelling moral obligations to peace and stability in Liberia, who must be supported in their moral leadership to promote peaceful coexistence in Liberia,” Sheikh Sherif read.
The endorsing statement of the Muslim Council also underscored its commitment to peace, by saying: “We are hopeful that making prompt decisions in these trying times will strengthen efforts at peace and limit possibilities of fundamentalists and new movements growing within religious settings.
“Considering the diversity that contributes to the historical foundation of Liberia, the National Muslim Council will remain a force to foster national unity, peace, stability and development in Liberia.”
The Inter Religious Council is a body set up during the war years to negotiate between and among warring factions to restore peace in the country.
Its function in part involves identifying potential conflict causing agents in the religious perspective, and suggesting ways forward to resolving related problems.
In the wake of calls by some Christians to make the country a “Christian state,” Muslims have felt uneasy on the grounds that such a constitutional decision may deny them their rights to worship, even though crafters of the proposition have clarified that it will do nothing to deny others of their freedom to worship.
When the Muslim Council declared its withdrawal from the Inter Religious Council several months ago, some Muslims were heard saying that if Proposition 24 goes to referendum and wins, all Muslim settlements in Liberia will not be under the authority of the Liberian government.