Stop Using Religion to Get Votes – Snowe, PYJ Quest For Islamic Holiday

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NOT ONLY THAT Montserrado lawmaker Edwin Snowe’s quest to legislate the Eid al-Adha or Abraham’s Day as a national holiday is the weirdest of bill ever sponsored at the Legislature, but it is the danger it spells that calls for the loudest patriotic rebuke that can ever be imagine.

LAWMAKER SNOWE’S QUEST come after another lawmaker, Senator Prince Y. Johnson of Nimba County also proffered similar idea at the level of the Liberian Senate pushing for Muslims holidays to be celebrated as National holidays in Liberia.

REPRESENTATIVE SNOWE, who now commandeers the confidence of a District in Bomi County following two successful stints as a Montserrado representative in the House of Representatives, is reported to be harboring political ambition for the Islamic midland county. It seems that Snowe’s agriculture business interest in the country will matriculate into a political pay day.

“THIS DEMONSTRATION OF faith is appreciated by both Christianity (Genesis 22) and Islam (Sura 37, As-Saaffat, ayat 100 – 112) and is celebrated as the [holier] of two Muslim holidays the world over he,” Representative Snowe stated in his letter to the House’s plenary. He argues that the when passed into law, Abraham Day will symbolize religious freedom and tolerance in Liberia and calls on his colleagues to support him.

IT MIGHT BE THE second time that a bill has been crafted on religious lines, but it is not totally the first time that the legislation of religious law has been proffered.  Back in 2008, then Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism Rev. Dr. Laurence Bropleh suggested at an Ahmadiya Muslim program in 2008 that it was the right thing to do to legislate a Muslim holiday. Bropleh got a good share of condemnation both in the press and among the Christian community. His Liberian Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church threatened to revoke his preaching license.

REV. DR. BROPLEH was defeated in what turned out to be a national debate. Rev. Dr. Bropleh was wrong. There wasn’t a Christian holiday in Liberia and there has not. There have only been faith-based holidays such as Thanksgiving Day and National Fast and Prayer Day. Christmas Day is not a holiday. It is only celebrated very momentously in Liberia due to the Christian profile of the nation. Liberia was founded as a sanctuary for freed black slaves who were repatriated from the United States of America in the early 1820s. However, Christianity played a part in that as Christian missionaries spread the faith among the returned Africans and later among other settlers.

BUT REV. DR. BROPLEH’S ARGUMENT—perhaps he still holds it—at least stemmed from an intellectual standpoint, as compared to Representative Snowe’s politically motivated religious rhetoric. In fact, Rev. Bropleh was in a position to err as it was the first of such debate that when he stole the headlines of public opinions. As of Representative Snowe, his argument should have been informed by what the Methodist prelate-politician had experienced. His fervency for political accomplishments has blinded his judgment of this most recent history.   

CITING THIS BLATANT IGNORING of the lessons this Christian-Muslim contention is not an unfounded chastisement of the would-be candidate for a Bomi seat in the Legislature, it is actually that the Montserrado lawmaker ignores all of the writing on the wall. And be not deceived he might win a seat with Bomi County.

REPRESENTATIVE SNOWE’S SUGGESTION for Abraham’s Day as a national holiday comes at the point when Liberian grapples with whether or not a preposition to change Liberia from a secular state to a Christian state. The “Preposition 24” has sparked, expectedly, a huge debate and once more brought the country on the brink of a topsy-turvy, reminiscent of the tensions that precipitated the 1990 civil war.

HOWEVER, THERE IS NO REASON to be awed by what Representative Snowe suggests. His suggestion draws strength from the troublesome rhetoric of religious tension and even bloody violence—the 2004 Christian-Muslim conflict and that of the conflict in Lofa County years later, just to name a few. His action here is an epitome of what a post-war Liberian politician who must at all cost get what they want, irrespective of what consequences it might have for the nation in general. Actually it is not a strange phenomenon but such politicking has got more negative impact on a country that is below its pre-war status and voters just cannot afford to fall for it.

FOR SENATOR PRINCE Y. JOHNSON, he is no stranger to controversy as the one time warlord is known for making controversial statements.

HIS PUSH FOR MUSLIMS religious days to be celebrated as a national holiday is just an attempt to win muslins votes but not in the national interest of peace and religious tolerance.

THESE TWO INDIVIDUALS are only trying to fervent religious disharmony in the country.

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