The most senior head of the Islamic religion in Liberia, Grand Mufti Sheik Abubakar Sumawolo has accused those he described as loyalists of former Liberian President Charles G. Taylor of bringing about religious division by inciting the majority Christians and Muslims in the country, a move that could plunge the country into religious instability that is occurring around the world.
Mr. Sumawolo said the recent move by a group of Christians at the Constitution Review Committee (CRC) conference in Gbarnga, Bong County to turn Liberia into a Christian Nation is not a new orchestration, but was previously conceived by former President Charles Taylor and his gang of loyalists to incite religious conflict that would perpetuate them in power at the time.
Speaking with newsmen yesterday in Monrovia, the Islamic cleric said the idea to Christianize the country has been on the horizon for a very long time as it was contained in Taylor’s Vision 2024 agenda, with his “Giving Liberia to Jesus Christ” Ideology. “This means the country has to be changed from the 1986 constitution and has made it to be to what Taylor and his cohorts desire it to be.”
Grand Mufti Sumawolo said President Taylor clearly demonstrated this intent in 2003, when he called a mass meeting at the SKD Sports Complex in Monrovia where he prostrated himself on the ground declaring to the Liberian people that he had “given Liberia back to Jesus Christ”.
“It was part of his vision 2024 that Liberia should be change to a Christian nation in order for the insecurity to continue because he would be living in that kind of violence and it is this dream that his loyalists are pursuing.
“This opinion is that of Charles Taylor and his loyalists some of whom are from his own family, friends and some of his former generals. Many of these people are now working in the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary branches of government.”
Grand Mufti Sumawolo said these loyalists, who he believes are still in contact with President Taylor, want to drag Liberia slowly to the objectives of their master (Taylor) so that most of the Muslims will live in fear. He noted that this move is targeting Muslims’ security, safety, and their own original rights to be abuse.
The Grand Mufti said that since the founding of the Liberian state, Christians and Muslims have been living in peace until the coming of Taylor and his collaborators (revolution), who deliberately targeted Liberian Muslims.
“In 2003, surprisingly the same President who was responsible for the calamities and destruction that have left the country backward, called for a mass meeting at the SKD Sports Complex lying on the ground declaring to the people that he had given Liberia back to Jesus Christ. This was some of the divisive ideas he wanted to impose so he could get the backing of the Christians so that he could rule for life.”
It can be recalled delegates at the just ended CRC conference in Gbarnga overwhelmingly voted for Liberia to be returned to a Christian state. This has however generated much debate with many calling on these groups of Christians to abandon their plans as it would be of no good to the country.
The call by many Liberians for the country to be Christianized was precipitated by calls from some lawmakers that they would craft a bill that would call for the country to be returned to Christ as it has been perceived since independence as a Christian nation. This is also because the country has a lot of Christian heritage or founded on Christian principles.
Among these lawmakers is Madam Jewel Howard Taylor, the former wife of the imprisoned former President Taylor, who is a Senator for Bong County.
The Muslim leader said since independence, Christian communities have been enjoying all rights in the country and the government. “What else do you people want? If you talk about holidays, they are given you people in full; if it is about being recognized in government, government cannot take any decision in your absence. 99 percent of government officials are Christians. Since independence all of the leaders of the country have been Christians.”
He said the Liberian state is considered secular according to the 1986 Constitution, almost majority of the rights, chaplains, cabinet positions, academic preferences, subsidiaries to schools and many, many political and social rights-even the holidays are all being given to Christians.
He said that he does not want to give credence to the manner in which the delegates were selected by the CRC and the process through which the voting exercises were conducted, but indicated that he wants those calling for Christianizing the country to abandon their plan and allow Liberia to remain a secular state.