Monrovia — The National Civil Society Council of Liberia (NCSCL) through its leadership has sharply condemned Liberia’s top Muslim clerics over alleged comments made at a dinner organized by Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) in commemoration of Ramadan.
At the event held on Sunday, May 16, Liberia’s Chief Imam, Ali Krayee “Liberia will not experience peace if the government refuses to grant Muslim a national holiday comes the next Ramadan in 2022.”
The Grand Mufti of Liberia, Sheik Abubakar Sumaworo also urged the Government not to allow the Muslim Community, especially young Muslims in Liberia expose their anger in the struggle for holiday.
However, in a statement issued on Tuesday, the Civil Society Council said the comments made by the Muslim leaders undermine national security and further have the propensity to ignite instability in the Mano River Union (MRU) Sub-region.
“We have made significant progress both in Liberia and the MRU, and any action from the influential figures from any segment of the population that promotes extremism, instability and unforeseen conflict require national, sub-regional and regional concern, inquiry, strong and timely mediation, and legal accountability,” the Council said in a statement issued by its leadership headed by Mrs. Loretta Pope-Kai.
The Council said such threats that provoke extremism, undermine religious coexistence and societal harmony, deeply divides a nation and promotes unforeseen future instability.
This, the Council believes could be led by the authorities or the influence of Chief Imam Krayee or idealized by extremist segment of the Muslim population found within or outside of the borders of Liberia.
The Council called for the statement to be considered a high priority of the Joint Security “due to the influx and unprecedented rise in numbers of undocumented and untraceable migrants from neighboring countries, especially Guinea, Mali, Senegal and Sierra Leone, predominantly from the Muslim background, and couple with Liberia struggling immigration sector and the under-capacitated joint security.”
The Council also said that the remark of Chief Imam Krayee was consciously considered and strategically staged to achieve a set goal because it was repeated by Grand Mufti Sumaworo.
It noted that “In keeping with past religious instability ignited by the fragment of the Muslim community in 2004, fear, destruction of lives and properties, and instability besieged Liberia and threaten the MRU sub-region. However, owing to the presence and logistical capacity of United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the situation didn’t lead to widespread blood shed or conflict.
The Civil Society Council said because UNMIL is out, and the security apparatus is not fully capacitated, couple with the huge influx of undocumented foreigners, the Muslim Community, especially citizens of Liberia should use the National Legislature to introduce, lobby or stage peaceful constitutional assemblies requesting for national recognition.
It called on the Muslim Community through the Inter Religious Council of Liberia to engage relevant stakeholders and build a national case supported by all religious and traditional segments of the population.
The Council, further in the statement, cautioned Muslims, especially citizens of Liberia to stay away from any type of indoctrination which might lead to extremism, hereby endangering their motherland, their personal development and future leadership at all levels of governance; adding that Muslims, documented or undocumented refrain from all processes that undermine their peaceful residence, their quest for economic empowerment and integration within the Liberia society and at all times respect the Constitution and laws of Liberia.”
Recommendations for Inter Religious Council of Liberia
The Council called on the Inter Religious Council of Liberia (IRCL), despite been led by a Muslim, to lead a multi-stakeholder’ dialogue aimed at promoting religious harmony, respect for rule of law, debate on anti-extremism and its effect on national security. It called on the IRCL to request the two Muslim clerics to commit themselves to principles of the rule of law and commitment to uphold the peace and democratic principles.
Government of Liberia
The Council also proffered that the Government of Liberia through its branches, should institute measures that sustain the secured corridor to enable the Muslim community through their representation to interact and present their petition proper redress.
It also called on the government to timely and legally carry out systematic security inquiry with regard to the statements issued by Chief Imam Krayee and Grand Mufti Sumaworo; and that the government, through its established communication framework should timely inform the general public about the inquiry so as to maintain national harmony and peaceful coexistence at all level of the society.
“It is a matter of caution and in the wake of maintaining the peace that we encourage all Liberians and the media institutions, that irrespective of our alignment, that we will prioritize religious harmony, peaceful coexistence and national peace over intentional religious divide or stigmatization,” the Council stressed in the statement.
Meanwhile, the Council also pledged to work along and through the leadership of the IRCL and the Government of Liberia to ensure the implementation of those recommendations.
“Let us maintain the peace, respect the rule of law, uphold religious harmony and stay away from radicalization,” it urged.