Muslim Students Threaten Secession

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More than 70 delegates to the just ended second general assembly of the National Muslim Students Association of Liberia (NMSAL) have denounced Christian extremism that wants to impose a ‘Christian State’ on Liberia.

The assembly was held at the Marvi Sonii Public School in Clara Town, Monrovia and was attended by all Muslim students from the various schools and universities in Monrovia, according to secretary general Mamadee Sesay.

A statement issued and signed by 70 representatives warned, “In the event that Christian extremists impose themselves on the Constitution [of Liberia], our last resort would be to secede territories that were predominantly Muslim before the creation of the so-called Christian principled state.”

 “In that direction,” the document said, “we call on the leadership of the Association to mobilize all Muslims to lead secession struggle in the areas that were predominantly Muslim territories—particularly North Western Liberia.”

 “We are not yet clear on what a Christian state is," NMSAL admitted, "and neither the Constitution Review Committee (CRC) nor the proponents of the Christian state [are clear] on which [part] of the Christian Bible would be the primary source of legislation and public policy.”

  “While we wait for clarifications on this issue,” the statement said, “we want to state firmly that we challenge this creeping wave of religious extremism in Liberia.”

The statement further said, “This is an attempt to alienate, exclude and make stateless people who don’t believe in Christianity… We call the leadership of the National Muslim Students Association of Liberia to pursue all legal means to condemn and defeat any proposition aimed at creating a Christian theocracy in Liberia.”

The students said the unguided majority politics on such a sensitive issue held in Gbarnga, last week demands a robust engagement at the courts and the legislature to defeat and nullify the proposition that seeks to alienate, “us (Muslims) and make us stateless.”

 They meanwhile called on Muslims and the rest of Liberians to join in the effort to prevent an attempt by what they described as ‘Christian extremists’ from creating problems for Liberia.

 Meanwhile secretary general Sesay noted that a clarification on the proposal to make Liberia a Christian state, as it was accepted at last week’s CRC convention, would be sought from the CRC.

  Delegates at the 5-day National Constitution conference, held in Gbarnga, Bong County, accepted proposal #24 to make Liberia a Christian State, as part of the 25 proposed amendments voted on by representatives of Liberia’s 15 counties, following consultations by the CRC in 73 electoral districts, along with Liberians in the Diaspora.

 Our reporter, Abednego Davis, at the convention reported that right after the proposal #24; delegates were having their breakfast, when a group comprising of men, women and children attempted to march to the conference hall shouting “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar.” (God is Great, God is Great). They held placards with messages such as: “We are one people and nobody is going to divide us. No equality no peace." 

 There is fear among the Muslim community that they would be marginalized and become second class citizens if the 'Christian state' proposition holds in the end. “I am a Muslim and a Liberian. Do I need to be treated like second class citizen?” one placard read.

Alhaji Bility told journalists in Gbarnga, “Liberia, our country, is a secular state and we are going to prevent anyone changing it to a Christian nation.”

But Rev. Jornah Woiwor, a spokesman for the Liberia Restoration to Christian Heritage, insisted, “Nobody here is representing secularism. Our Muslim brothers here have the right to exercise their franchise. Are they not saying that they are a secular (group)?” he asked.

 Interviews conducted in Monrovia at several hataye discussion centers Saturday revealed lack of understanding of what it means to make Liberia a 'Christian state'. However, the acceptance of proposal #24 means it will proceed to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who many believe "may not entertain such proposition if it goes against her government's national reconciliation agenda."

 Then afterwards, the Senate will receive the proposal before the final referendum that would allow Liberians their say to either accept or reject the proposal.

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