The head of the Liberian Imam Council recently came under vociferous condemnations from varying segments of the Liberian populace, including both Christians and Muslims, when he delivered his “Abraham Day” sermon which many describe as anti-peace and uncharacteristic of a “man of God”. Imam Sheikh Ali Krayee had said, amongst other things on a public radio, that Muslims were being unfairly treated in Liberia and that national peace was in jeopardy under the situation. The comment triggered enormous public outrage and drew sustained censures from people of varying faiths, including those from his Islamic religion. But if anyone thinks the volleys of denunciation unleashed on the Muslim clergy have brought him to sobriety and amends, it is folly; in fact, it has got him apparently more radical, as The Analyst reports.
The Islamic radical clergyman who many people believe recently threatened national peace for what he considers unfair treatment of Liberian Muslims is gone more combative and unrepentant, stating that he has no regrets for making the statements.
In a special statement commemorating Abraham Day in Liberia, Iman Krayee said Liberians were provoking a revolution by taunting and ignoring Muslims who are request Islamic holidays in the country. But statement was resisted by the public who said the Chief of Iman was out of order in saying so.
However, Sheikh Ali Krayee says, despite the condemnations, that he remains unapologetic and defiant for all the utterances he made in the past and present to demand what he called religious justice in the country.
“In this country, I think the audience listening to me can attest to this that you either shout or shoot before people listen to you,” he said defiantly in an interview. “We have been tolerant and polite in pleading for religious justice for the Muslims but no one cares to listen and it has been going on over and over through the years.”
He added: “It has reached the point that we cannot continue to keep quiet while the rights of Muslims are being trampled upon. We are now shouting so that the people, especially the government, will listen to us.”
Speaking on a live online TV owned and operated by a Liberian Mandingo Community in the United States of America which coincided with the 174th Independence Day celebration of Liberia, Imam Krayee said that he could not understand why Islam being the first to be accepted in Liberia as a faith before the coming of the Christians will be relegated to the background in the scheme things where they have no say to demand their legitimate rights as being enjoyed by the Christians in the country.
He continued: “Even in terms of the conduct of the census in this country, the Muslims have no role to play. Those who are in charge are always Christians who come up with baseless figures and statistics to give huge numbers to the Christians while the Muslims are unconcerned. Some of these things are very clear that they are state sponsored actions and people want us to believe that the system is not against the Muslims.”
When asked about his views expressed against the Christians of Liberia recently when he called them “Holy Ghost fire hustlers”, Imam Krayee said his statement and perception of them remain unchanged.
He further said the Christian component of the Inter-Religious Council has lost its significance, adding that they are hustlers and not interested in pursuing the cause for which the organization was formed.
“They are interested in pushing through their projects to collect money from the government and not even for their members but for themselves,” the Muslim clergy said.
He averred he cannot be a party to an institution, like the Inter-Faith group, that does not seek for justice, equity and unity for its constituent members, like the Muslims who the Christian-dominated Inter-Religious Council has never spoken for.
He stated that at a time, the Muslims told the council to just keep them in the loop and not necessarily play any leadership role but unfortunately they are all over the place hustling for their selfish aims.
“How can I or the Muslims be part of an institution where corruption and greed cannot be condemned and I don’t have any other description but to call them “Holy Ghost Fire hustlers”; and I have no regrets,” Imam Krayee said rather obstinately.
The Chief Imam, who said he has what he called the KORANIC MANDATE to implement in Liberia, said his assertion that the government is provoking revolution cannot be faulted as it has historical precedence.
“Yes I made the statement and I stand by it. There was a time when the Americo-Liberians were in power for more than a century; people agitated for inclusive government but the ruling establishment was calling them trouble makers until the military took over in 1980,” he said further. “When Doe was in power and people began to call him TARNUE, he thought he was the only man until the war came and took him away. Then Taylor, he took the title DAHKPANNAH and thought he was the only man, and ended up where he is today. We are talking about religious justice and the government is not listening but there can only be an extent where our patience will no longer allow this to continue.”
In response to a question of how a Muslim can be a President or Vice President in this country like in Ghana where on many occasions the Muslims have risen to the Vice Presidency, Imam Krayee said that there is a huge possibility but that will depend on the Muslims themselves to be united for a purpose and constitute a political bloc that every party must consult and pick a vice presidential running mate.
He noted that it calls for commitment and dedication on the part of the Muslims to push it for themselves, not any other person.
He said: “There is a huge possibility of having a Muslim vice president to start with but that will depend on the Muslims not the Christians. No matter what differences they may have, the overall goal of the Christians in this country is for them to make sure no Muslim comes to any higher position like the President or the Vice President.
“The Muslims have to stand firm to defend their faith and support the cause of religious justice that will make Islam as important as Christianity that will be the beginning of a Muslim climbing the ladder of leadership in this country.”
Imam Krayee said he was happy that the agitation for a Muslim holiday, such as the Ramadan day celebration is resonating with the people and said that there was some seriousness shown by the faithful this year during this year’s Ramadan.
According to him, she Muslims requested for the holiday in 2016, the government under Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf gave them bags of rice; the same thing in 2017.
“When this present government came in, they gave us rice when we demanded for the holiday in 2018. They did again in 2019 and 2020 but in 2021, when the government came up with bags of rice, we rejected them and demanded for our holiday.”
He told his audience that contrary to the perception about him out there that he is a radical cleric, he said it is not true but he is a moderate. He said people see him as a radical because he speaks the truth as he is under compulsion to adhere to the Koranic mandate he has to implement.
Islam, he said, is a comprehensive religion that does not separate the state from religion.
He further noted: “In Islam, you talk about the spiritual and the worldly life; so as a religious leader, you are bound to speak about what happens in the religion and also in the state in fulfillment of the Koranic mandate. My being seen as a radical comes from the background that has been the Christians that have been speaking out on some of the very things I speak against but it is strange to them that a Muslim is now speaking out and so to make us to be silent”, they call us radical”.
Imam Krayee also said one of the achievements of the Muslim community under this leadership is the creation of a Muslim religious advisor to the President which did not come out from the blue but it was negotiated for, though the actual appointment of the present religious advisor on Islamic affairs to the president was done on the prerogative of the president himself but not through their input.