LIBERIA: ‘We Cannot Accept Media That Provokes Chaos’ – Organizers of Aug 4 Sacrifice ‘Emotionally Annoyed with Hot Pepper Newspaper’

Organizers of the August 4 ‘Community Prayers and Sacrifice’ event say they are appalled by the August 16, 2019 publication of the Hot Pepper newspaper, which alleged that former associate justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, Kabineh Ja’neh, was mobilizing people to bring war.

Kabah M. Trawally, lead organizer of the event, says the publication was not only un-researched but intentionally done to plant unwarranted panic and discord at the expense of an already uneasy moment in Liberia.

According to him, the story has a malicious intent to set up renowned law-abiding citizens of the Muslim community against the state; and therefore, demands an apology and immediate retraction from the Hot Pepper newspaper.

“After all these years of rebuilding, we refuse to accept that the media we have is one whose proudest signature is to provoke panic and chaos; and put the lives of people in danger through unethical reporting. The millions of dollars spent in developing our media in the last decade cannot be a waste. But this publication by the Hot Pepper newspaper is nothing but evidence of a useless media in a fragile democracy.

“We are emotionally annoyed for the unprofessional and blatant violation of the moral principles of professional journalism. We cannot fathom how will a newspaper will let this sort of report out without even the slightest attempt to research the facts. With the way we are proceeding, we are afraid newspapers may begin to kill people through their unethical reportage,” Mr. Trawally said in a press release.

On August 4, Liberians, mainly Muslims, gathered in the open at New Georgia Junction mosque to offer sacrifices and intercessory prayers on behalf of people that survived as well as those who lost their lives during Liberia’s brutal civil wars. They also used the occasion to seek God’s intervention in resolving longstanding disputes and challenges hampering the forward march of the Muslim community.

Sacrifice is a normal religion rite for Muslims. At the end of the day, attendants committed to promote the socio-economic welfare of society’s less fortunate.

But the Hot Pepper newspaper reported that the presence of former justice Ja’neh and other topflight influencers in the Muslim community was intended to mobilize for war. This, Mr. Trawally said was absurd.

According to Trawally, the Muslim community has experienced no semblance of failure by the George Weah government to breach their full enjoyment of rights. Instead, they have and continue to see unprecedented personal efforts from the President to encourage this freedom of religious practices for which they are immensely grateful.

“The occasion, which had nothing to with this un-researched, evil allegation by the newspaper, was organized by respected, patriotic law-abiding members of our community and was intended to offer prayers and sacrifice in honor of our dead.”

Liberia, in recognition of God during its early turbulent time of state building, set aside special days every year for thanksgiving, fast and prayers.

“The Muslims, irrevocably a national subset in this definition, dully uphold this national tradition. We have the right guaranteed clearly and unreservedly under the Liberian Constitution and by international protocols, the right to association, as well as the freedom to exercise our cultural and religious rights without any harassment from the state.

“So, to see local a newspaper ridiculously exposing its professional ineptitude, disregard to the profession’s standard of balance reportage is unspeakable. We demand an immediate apology and retraction of the story,” Trawally stated.

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