By: Eldred Wlemongar Thomas/ GNN Staff Reporter
The Senior Senator of Nimba County, Prince Y. Johnson has submitted a bill to the Liberian Senate seeking the enactment of two additional holidays for the Islamic religion in Liberia.
The Bill entitled an Act to amend chapter 1 (National Holidays) of the Patriotic and Cultural Observances Law (Title 25 of the Liberian Code of Laws revised) and provide thereto two widely celebrated Islamic Days.
In a communication dated August 23, 2016 to his colleagues said the Muslim faith has and continues to play tremendous roles in contributing to the growth of the Liberian economy through the establishment businesses, and noted that
“This draft Legislature is prudent and in the best interest and fulfillment of difficult desire to achieving unity in diversity amongst Liberians and building such solid foundation of a society of peace tranquility, stability and security for posterity, Senator noted”.
The Nimba County lawmaker also craved to his colleagues and urged them that the Muslims should be recognized for their valuable co-existence and contribution by considering the end of the Holy Month of Ramanda and the Feast of Abraham (Lungee) as national holidays.
Senator Johnson in his communication cited Article 11 (b) of the Liberian Constitution which states that all persons in irrespective of ethnic background, race, sex, creed, place of origin or political opinion are entitled to the fundamental rights and freedom of the individual.
Also providing more reasons for his bill, Senator Johnson referenced Article 14 of the Constitution which states
That all persons are shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion and no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment and that no religious denomination or sect shall have any exclusive privilege or preference over another, but all shall be treated alike.
Senator Johnson recounted that before and after the independence of Liberia, the long standing mutual co-existence amongst every tribal and religious groupings, the society has responded positively in a mature fashion to subdue any such heightening tension, and if inadvertently, therefore all frictions resultant is swiftly quelled, before the situation is blown out of proportions.
Senator Johnson, a clergyman said despite, members of the Muslim faith may be in the minority, they must be denied under the law, adding three of Liberia’s sixteen tribes include the Vai, Mende and Mandingoes which are dominantly Muslims.
It can be call that several prominent Muslims including Siaka Sheriff at the end of the 2016 Ramadan proffered the idea that government provides similar space like Christians have in terms of celebrating holidays making specific reference to the Christmas Holiday in December each year.
Mr. Sheriff and other Muslims noted that business houses should be closed and jobs suspended throughout the country, something they believe can help to foster a more open democratic space in Liberia.
They reechoed an appeal to the government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to consider the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan a National Holiday because prayers offered on this Day is not for one group of Liberia (Muslims), but for the entire country.
According to them, members of the Muslim faith had to rush from working to break their fast, performed prayer ceremonies and thereafter rushed back to jobs something they frowned on saying the day should be exclusive to render thanks and praises to God.
Meanwhile, a motion was filed by Maryland county Senator Gblebo Brown to accept Senator Johnson’s communication for discussion upon the return the of Senators from their constitutional break.