Muslims in Liberia have for the first time since the 1800s elected a ‘Supreme Leader’, who will be the single most powerful person in the country’s Islamic community. Ascending to this lofty, lifetime tenured position is Liberia’s former National Chief Imam, Alhaji Muhammad Abdullah
Sheriff, who was elected Spiritual Leader by over 150 Imams of the Governing Board of the National Imam Council of Liberia (NICOL).
The Muslim cleric is currently in Morocco on official duty.
Imam Abubakar Massaquoi, the newly elected Deputy Secretary General of the Council, said the selection was done through a unanimous resolution at an extraordinary meeting on Friday, July 15, corresponding to the Shawwal 10, 1437 on the Islamic calendar.
Imam Massaquoi read the resolution yesterday at the headquarters of the National Muslim Council of Liberia, in the Central Mosque on Benson Street.
“As of Friday, July 15, 2016 or Shawwal 10, 1437, Alhaji Muhammad Abdullah Sheriff shall serve as Chairman of the Governing Board and Head of the Majlis al Fatwah and shall therefore be the Supreme Leader of the National Imam Council of Liberia,” the resolution said.
The Governing Board is the supreme decision-making body of the Imam Council and the Majlis al Fatwar is known as Committee of Islamic Jurists, which is charged with the responsibility to give Islamic verdicts and opinions.
The resolution also named former Deputy Chief Imam Sheikh Ali Tweh Krayee as the National Chief Imam and Imam Muhammad A. Fahnbulleh as Deputy Chief Imam for National Affairs.
Furthermore, Imam Muhammad Konneh shall serve as Secretary General and Imam Massaquoi, Deputy Secretary General.
“That the Chief Imam shall, in keeping with the Constitution of NICOL, serve as the Chief Administrator and Chief Spokesperson,” the resolution said.
The newly elected National Chief Imam, Sheikh Krayee, told journalists that the creation of a position of the Supreme Leader is way of recognizing the efforts of a Muslim Cleric, as well as to share power and promote accountability and transparency.
In the past, the National Chief Imam served as Chairman of the Governing Board, Head of the Majlis al Fatwah, Chief Administrator and the Chief Spokesperson of NICOL.
Though Imams and executive members of NICOL have been prohibited from active politics; however, reports gathered said the Supreme Leader of Liberian Muslims shall through the Imams advise the Muslim Community on who to vote for on district, county and national levels.