The National Muslim Council of Liberia has welcomed the position of the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) that it does not support in any form or manner Proposition #24 of the Constitution Review Committee to legislate Liberia a Christian State.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Sheik Omaru A. Kamara, chairman of the National Muslim Council, told the Daily Observer that “the LCC’s position on Proposition #24 is encouraging,” which now opens the way for a united dialogue to ensure that Liberia remains peaceful.
He said until some Liberians began to push for Liberia to be declared a Christian State from March 30-April 2, 2015, the National Muslim Council was an active member of the Inter-Faith Religious Council, along with the Liberia Council of Churches, that had worked together to ensure that the erstwhile civil war did not become a religious war.
“But since Proposition #24 was advanced, we saw that the LCC was not supportive enough against an issue that could destabilize our country, and so we felt that it was expedient for us to suspend our membership from the Inter-Faith Religious Council,” Chairman Kamara said.
He said the Muslim Council additionally felt that its position for a secular state to provide all Liberians the opportunity to worship freely was threatened and therefore they could then no longer work together with the LCC.
With the LCC’s position that collaboration and interfaith dialogue with all those united “with us by faith and humanity will strengthen our harmonious relationship and create a peaceful society for mutual co-existence, irrespective of race, creed, ethnicity or religion,” the Muslim Council is satisfied that they are working on a course to ensure peace in Liberia.
Sheik Kamara said the executive committee of the Muslim Council will be meeting today, “and hope to deliberate on the position of the LCC to ensure the harmonious relationship to move Liberia forward.”
The LCC’s position statement, issued by The Most Reverend Jonathan B. B. Hart, President of the Liberia Council of Churches, on Monday in Monrovia, acknowledged the importance of diversity “of our religious co-existence,” and noted that during the height of 1990 civil-upheaval, “We joined efforts in promoting peace and dialogue through the Inter-Faith Mediation Committee, now the Inter-Religious Council.
“Our commitment then and now remains consistent with our commitment to promote religious dialogue and recognition that the supremacy of faith negates our desire to foster peace and promote the respect for human rights.
“Other nations affirmed this model and continue to affirm this approach as a creative approach to addressing our religious differences.”
The LCC further considered the World Council of Churches Paper on Ecumenical Considerations for Dialogue and Relations with People of other Religious Faith of Jan. 1, 2004 and quoted paragraph 7:
“Too often religious identities are drawn into conflict and violence. Religion is increasingly identified with ethnicity; giving religious overtones to ethnic conflicts. Religious identity becomes so closely related to power that the communities without power, or those who are discriminated against, look to religion as the force of mobilization of their dissent and protest…Christians must come to experience the meaning of a common humanity before God. This experience is rooted in the Biblical affirmation that God is the creator and sustainer of all creation.”
However, there are pockets of resistance from a section of the Christian community who have insisted that Proposition #24 is a means for Liberia to have a religious identity that could discourage the promotion of what they describe as vices, including gay and lesbian practices in the country.