By Edwin G. Wandah
Muslims in the country are calling on the National Legislature to enact into law, two of their holy days as they petition the 54th Legislature.Appearing yesterday at the Capitol Building, the Muslims in their petition called on the legislature amongst other things to legislate two days, Eidal-Fitr which is the Ramadan, and Eid al Edha known as Abraham Day which according to them is celebrated in other Muslim- dominated countries as Abraham Day.
The group which is under the banner, ‘Movement for Islamic Holidays in Liberia’s petition comes at the time most of them believe that the Liberian Constitution had given much privilege to their Christian counterparts and had been marginalized.
In a special statement read by Ayouba Dauda Sherrif, he cited the gross humiliation suffered by Muslims in the country over the years, while according to him, their Christian brothers and sisters have been enjoying so much of privileges which had been protected by the Liberian Constitution.
“Our distinguished fellow compatriots, Honorable Lawmakers, it is with deep love we bring you this statement,” the statement is quoted.
“As we all might be aware through history that before the coming of the free black slaves from the United States of America in 1821, and the subsequent establishment of the country now called Liberia in 1847, Muslims and the people of traditional belief were here as early as the 16th Century,” he also stated.
Sherriff who was very emotional on the issue told the 54th National Legislature that the Liberian Constitution had protected the Christians since the establishment of the country, adding that it was time for things to change.
Honorable Lawmakers, while there are several nationally recognized and celebrated holidays in Liberia, it will interest you to note that there is not a single holiday dedicated to Muslims even though Article 14 of the Constitution of Liberia declares the nation as a secular state,” he indicated.
Sherriff said the Lawmakers should consider the viability of their quest, adding, Liberia as a secular state has a population of 12.2% Muslim representation, while, Christians stand at 85.5%, making them the two dominant religions in the country.
According to him, Cape Verde as a secular state also, has 85.3% Christians and 1.8% Muslims making the only countries in West Africa with the highest number of Christians and Muslim representation in the country.
Meanwhile, Sherrif said, Niger as a secular state has 99% Muslims and just 1% Christians; Mali has 95% Muslims and 2% Christians; Gambia has 96% Muslims and 3% Christians; Senegal and Guinea have 95% Muslims, 4% Christians and 85% Muslims with 8% Christians.
According to him, all of these countries narrowed the scales between the Muslims and Christians, giving religious tolerance, but regret that Muslims in Liberia have been marginalized.