There have been several moves by the Muslim community in Liberia to press on the government to declare days of worship of Muslims as public holidays in the country but the recent remark made by the Chief Imam of Liberia, Sheik Ali Krayee threatening actions if their demands are not met has been termed as taking the matter too far as putting the nation’s security at risk.
Speaking at the close of the celebration of Eid Mubarrak or Abraham Day on Tuesday, July 20, 2021, the Islamic cleric did not mince words to drive home from the bottom of his heart what lies ahead if the Muslims are not given a public holiday by the end of next year.
“People are provoking revolution in this country,” he said, adding “and when you start the work we do, sometimes … they want to understand what we mean as if they want to see some kind of action.”
In what seems to be an indictment of the government on what is inferred from his outburst as a one-sided promotion of Christianity above the Islamic faith, Imam Krayee said, “if this nation continues to sow discord and discrimination, it will reap discrimination”. He demanded that the Muslim holidays must be resolved next year and that by next Ramadan, declaring, “there will be freedom for everybody or freedom for nobody.”
Imam Krayee who appeared visibly enraged when he was speaking at the program did not also spared Christian leaders who he referred to as “Holy Ghost Fire” preachers and sent a warning to them that they will be the first to jump through the windows and flee Liberia the day real fire comes. “No, continue with your hustle, you are not our problem. Continue to preach your Holy Ghost Fire, but we will know that the day real fire comes here you will jump over the window and be the first to flee this country because your Holy Ghost will not be able to stop the fire that you are provoking..,” Krayee said.
Imam Krayee made light of his statement and pointed to what could be seen as a contradiction of himself when he said the fire will not come from the Muslims but they will remain peaceful while pursuing their cause.
The statement from Krayee is not being taken lightly in the wake of the upsurge of Islamic fanatics and sects in the Sub-region unleashing terrors in some countries while agitating for Islamic states and the abrogation of Christian religions. The Islamic militancy in Chad, Mali, and Burkina Faso as well as the long running war between the Boko Haram fighters and the Nigerian troops clearly comes to mind.
It is believed with the decline in the number of Muslim faithful in Liberia and factionalization of the religion, there has been covert moves to force their way to national relevance by demanding public holidays to be declared for them, thereby finding a rallying point to mobilize and recruit more members.
There has not been any statement from the government of Liberia to the threat if their demands are not met but there have been overwhelming condemnation and criticisms from a wide spectrum of the public.
Manuel Kaipay, Interim Chairman of the Gardnersville based Citizens Alert Alliance said he was not surprised for such statement to emanate from the Imam because these are some of the underground tactics to force their religion on the people and called on the Christians not to sit supinely while the Islamic cleric and his group are planning to unleash terror on them. “Liberia is not prepared for this demonic action in the form of religious war the Muslims are thinking about. We know that there have been some secret moves to start a jihad war so as to force their religion on us but we are ready to sacrifice the last pound of our blood to fight them. They will be the first people to run away from here, not the Christians. The government should pick this as an alert to take action before they start their wicked plan” Mr. Kaipay said.
“How can a minority threaten the majority? The Muslims are just less than 15% of the population, and the Christians are up to 80% or so. How can they threaten us? Let them try anything funny in this country and they will forever regret their actions. We will drive them out of this country and send them where they belong. I have no other country besides Liberia so we will show the fire they are looking for”, said Jerry Wesseh, a retired law enforcement officer
A public policy analyst, Caesar Brown said it is unfortunate that some people have short memory of history and condemned Imam Krayee for being blind to what the constitution says about religious freedom in this country. He said Liberia paid dearly to have the current peace as well as the huge contribution from the international community that we are enjoying right now. So it would be counterproductive for someone to sit in their comfort zone to start the drumbeats of war.
“I am surprised that Imam Krayee is not behind bars by this time for these threats to derail the peace we are enjoying today. We cannot afford for any form of religious war in this country to subject our people and country to another round of sufferings”, Brown said.
What seems to be lacking in Imam Krayee’s action is his inability to read and understand what the constitution says about religious freedom in this country to avoid misconstruing the government to be supporting a one state religion that favors Christianity. Article 14 of the 1986 constitution clearly says as follows
“All persons shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment thereof except as may be required by law to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others. All persons who, in the practice of their religion, conduct themselves peaceably, not obstructing others and conforming to the standards set out herein, shall be entitled to the protection of the law. No religious denomination or sect shall have any exclusive privilege or preference over any other, but all shall be treated alike; and no religious tests shall be required for any civil or military office or for the exercise of any civil right. Consistent with the principle of separation of religion and state, the Republic shall establish no state religion.